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Hernando faces state sanctions for too many baseball games


© St. Petersburg Times, published April 27, 2000

BROOKSVILLE -- Hernando's baseball team faces a $250 fine and possible loss of games next season after playing 29 regular-season games this year, one more than the limit set by the Florida High School Activities Association.

The Leopards' original schedule included just 28 games, but the team gained another when last week's Dunedin Easter Tournament lost two teams, according to coach Tim Sims. Because the tournament was rebracketed to accommodate 16 teams, Hernando earned a fourth game by beating Dixie Hollins in the first round.

Pasco faces the same sanctions.

Sims said Hernando would have been considered in violation even if it had forfeited the extra game because just scheduling the game would be a violation.

FHSAA director of communications Jack Watford said associate commissioner Ron Allen will determine sanctions by June 30, the end of the school year.

"The associate commissioner determines whether it was intentional and if it could have been avoided in some other way," Watford said. "If it was a complete lack of responsibility by the coach or on the part of school, that could increase the penalty."

Sims said he has not spoken with Hernando athletic director Rodney Byrd about the violation.

Pasco coach Ricky Giles said he violated the rule because the team he played for third place in the Dunedin tourney, Western, drove four hours from Broward but had only played two games.

"I broke the rules and I have to pay, I know that," he said. "I respect the state, but I did it for the kids."

Giles reported the violation to athletic director Willie Broner, who in turn reported it to the FHSAA. But the FHSAA already had been tipped off to the Pasco and Hernando violations.

Giles also blamed the organizers of the Dunedin tourney. "I knew they rebracketed it wrong," he said. "Next time, though, I'm not going to help anyone out. Not if they're going to fine me for it."

Central High incurred a $250 fine for playing a 29th game last season because it won more games in the Dunedin tourney than coach Gary Buel expected. As an additional penalty, the Bears were limited to 27 regular-season games this year.

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