Palm Beach Gardens forced to forfeit opening victory
Friday, September 07, 2012
by Jeff Greer
The Palm Beach Gardens football team must forfeit last week's season-opening victory and pay a fine to the Florida High School Athletic Association after the school self-reported a violation of the state's player-eligibility policy.
Palm Beach Gardens Athletic Director Bill Weed forgot to inform head football coach Rob Freeman of an ineligible player on the Gators' roster prior to Gardens' 45-7 win Aug. 31 over rival Palm Beach Lakes. The player, who is a minor and unnamed in a letter sent from the FHSAA to the school, is academically ineligible with a sub-2.0 grade-point average, and can't participate in team activities until his academic status improves.
Once Weed recognized the error, the summary of violation says, he told the player of his ineligibility and reported the violation to the FHSAA. Because the mistake was self-reported, the school likely won't appeal the FHSAA's punishment.
In addition to forfeiting the win over Lakes, Gardens was fined $100 and received an official reprimand. The fine was significantly reduced because Gardens notified the FHSAA. Normal FHSAA policy requires a minimum fine of $2,500 per athlete, per contest for playing an ineligible player.