February 9, 2011

Miami basketball team wins injunction

The past week for the Miami (Fla.) Dr. Krop basketball team has been played out from one court to another.

At 20-3 and No. 19 in the RivalsHigh Top 100 rankings, the Lightning players were on the verge of having their season washed away due to an ineligible player.

The controversy centered around 19-year-old Bryan Delancy, a Bahamas native playing at Dr. Krop on a student visa.

According to a report in the Miami Herald, Delancy has been attending and playing for Krop all season. While there are no regulations against eligible foreign players competing for Florida high school programs, those players require the submission of paperwork certifying the player's status as a visiting student.

Officials at Dr. Krop reportedly failed to file that paperwork, meaning that Delancy was technically an ineligible player, a decision which would have forced Krop to forfeit all 19 games in which he played and thereby ending the Lightning's season before the playoffs even begin.

At a hearing on Tuesday, the Florida High School Athletic Association denied an appeal to reinstate both Delancy and his team's victories, filed by Dr. Krop officials after the FHSAA's initial decision that the 20-point, 10-rebound star was never technically eligible.

However on Wednesday, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Spencer Eig granted the injunction that allows the school to continue to district playoffs.

"I think it would be fundamentally unfair not to let these kids play basketball," Eig said.

The team has had a moderate level of success in recent years against Florida competition but it has made major strides nationally this year.

Wins over nationally-ranked Winter Park (Fla.) High, Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips, Memphis (Tenn.) Melrose and Lithonia (Ga.) Miller Grove has pushed the team to new heights.

Dr. Krop coach Shakey Rodriguez felt he was being forthright with the information all along.

"When we heard there was a commotion, we went forward with information," Rodriguez told the Herald. "We were trying to be honest with the whole situation.

"We have never had a situation where we've had to deal with this. I thought immigration status was not something we're supposed to ask about."

The teen and his coach's honesty may not ultimately be enough to save the school's postseason eligibility, but for now the Lightning are set to take on Miami (Fla.) Carol City on Friday night.

"We worked so hard this year," Delancy said. "Why should this even matter?"

- Yahoo! High School PrepRally sports blog editor Cameron Smith contributed to this report


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