Immokalee barred from playoffs, must forfeit titles

The Immokalee football team is barred from the playoffs for next season and the boys soccer team is barred for two seasons – and the school must forfeit two district soccer titles and one district football title – after the Florida High School Athletic Association punished the school today for using three over-age student athletes.

The letter of consequences came to Immokalee via fax and certified mail late this morning. Collier County School District assistant superintendent Eric Williams also received a copy of the letter.

Immokalee has 10 days to appeal the FHSAA's ruling.

The letter signed by FHSAA Commissioner John Stewart stated that Immokalee used three students – 30-year-old Blandel Jean, 23-year-old Josh Jean-Mary and 20-year-old Sinel Ulysse – who were over the maximum age limit for participation, 19 years, 9 months. The letter stated that the school knew Jean-Mary was over-age in October 2005, but did not report it until May 2006 and did not initiate an investigation into other over-age students when it found out about Jean-Mary.

Jean-Mary and Ulysse played only soccer, while Jean was a backup kicker for the 2005 football team, appearing in five games.

Because of the violations, the FHSAA ruled that Immokalee must:

-- Have its soccer team placed on two seasons of restrictive probation, starting immediately, barred from participating in the playoffs or any other preseason or postseason contest.

-- Have its football team placed on restrictive probation for the 2006 season, barred from participating in the playoffs or any other preseason or postseason contest, including the 2007 spring game.

-- Notify schools by letter that their teams played against ineligible Immokalee players and that Immokalee must forfeit those contests. The school also must return the 2005 district football trophy, the 2005-06 district soccer trophy, 2004-05 district soccer trophy and the 2003-04 district runner-up trophy to the FHSAA.

-- Face a $3,000 fine -- $1,000 for each ineligible player – and costs of the investigation.

-- Receive a letter of censure and warning against further violations.

Find additional coverage in Thursday's edition of the Daily News.

© 2006 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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