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Miami Christian Will Appeal Ban Over Puerto Rico Recruiting Violations

FHSAA Bans Miami Christian Over Puerto Rico Recruiting Violations

By Buddy Collings | Sentinel Staff Writer

January 21, 2003
Copyright © 2003 THE ORLANDO SENTINEL. All rights reserved.

Miami Christian, which was banned from the 2001 state boys basketball playoffs for improprieties involving three transfers from the Dominican Republic, has been sanctioned again by the Florida High School Activities Association.

The Victors [one of the participants in Saturday's Bright Futures Shootout boys basketball event at UCF], winners of Class 1A state titles in 2000 and 2002, have been found guilty of recruiting violations involving three senior players who moved to Miami from Puerto Rico this year: Guillermo Diaz, Carlos Berrocales and Raul Orta.

Jack Watford of the Florida High School Activities Association confirmed that the Victors have been banned from the Class 1A playoffs, fined $2,500 and placed on probation that prohibits out-of-state competition next year. In addition, Miami Christian must forfeit 16 victories they posted with Guillermo Diaz, Raul Orta and Carlos Berrocales, three seniors who enrolled at Miami Christian last fall.

"We are still awaiting a letter from the FHSAA on this, but we are definitely going to dispute those charges," Victors Coach Art Alvarez said Monday night. "We know the rules. We don't recruit players at Miami Christian."

Diaz, Orta and Berrocales did not play in a 67-59 loss to Fort Lauderdale Dillard (13-1) Saturday and a 75-61 win over Jacksonville Arlington Country Day (11-3) Monday.

The Victors sat Diaz, Orta and Berracoles out Saturday in a 67-59 loss to three-time defending 6A state champion Fort Lauderdale Dillard (13-1) and again Monday in a 75-61 homecourt win over Jacksonville Arlington Country Day (11-3).

"We’re still a very good high school team. But the three kids in question gave us a starting lineup made up completely of guys we feel can go Division I."

Alvarez said his team will play Saturday against Ohio power Columbus Brookhaven at 8 p.m. in the third of four games at UCF. But the Victors' on-court record of 17-6 against a schedule that has included games in Hawaii, Delaware and two trips to California now officially becomes 1-22. And Diaz, a 6-foot, 1-inch University of Miami signee who reportedly has a vertical leap of 50 inches, will not be part of the showcase.

Miami Christian To Appeal FHSAA Penalties

Victors' hearing set for Feb. 2


January 22, 2003
Copyright © 2003 THE MIAMI HERALD. All rights reserved.

Days after hearing from reporters that its basketball program had been sanctioned, Miami Christian coach Art Alvarez said the school officially received a letter Tuesday from the Florida High School Activities Association confirming the suspension.

FHSAA associate commissioner Dan Boyd, who heads investigations on recruiting and eligibility issues, would not discuss the findings because Miami Christian plans to appeal the decision Feb. 2 in Gainesville.

''It wouldn't be right for me to talk about something they are planning to appeal,'' Boyd said. ``But I can tell you everything I read in papers was reported accurately.''

Said Alvarez: ``We are definitely going to dispute those charges. We know the rules and play by them. We don't recruit players.''

On Friday, an FHSAA official said the Victors had been cited for recruiting violations involving three players -- Guillermo Diaz, Carlos Berrocales and Raul Orta -- who moved to Miami from Puerto Rico in the past year.

Unless the the FHSAA Board of Directors overturns the ruling, the Victors, once ranked No. 2 in the country, will be banned from the state playoffs this year and next. In addition, the school was fined $2,500 and won't be allowed to travel out of state next season.

The Victors, who are 16-6 on the court, must forfeit their first 15 victories, making them 1-21.

Boyd said Miami Christian will be given 20 minutes to present its case in front of the ruling committee.

In the past, the committee has been reluctant to overturn rulings -- especially in cases involving recruiting violations.

• In November of 1998, three Miami High players ruled ineligible on the basis of recruiting were denied on appeal.

• In September of 2000, Columbus and Northwest Christian, charged with recruiting, lost its appeals.

• In June of 2001, Ocala Shores Christian, charged with recruiting, was denied on appeal and suffered the same penalties MC faces.


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