Nease Gets 3 Years of Probation; FHSAA Doles out Punishment for High School Baseball Team's Violation of Practice Policy

Article excerpt

Byline: Chase Goodbread, The Times-Union

The Florida High School Athletic Association told The Times-Union on Tuesday that it has placed the Nease High School baseball program on probation for three years, fined it $1,500, eliminated 10 practices during the next two seasons and cut its 2006 schedule from 25 to 22 games.

The ruling came at the conclusion of an investigation into the Nease program for violating a rule that forbids practicing before Jan. 24.

FHSAA compliance director Bill Grey said the program was found to be in violation of three FHSAA policies, all of which deal with offseason guidelines. Grey said that, while the St. Johns County school's officials believed the baseball program was in compliance, the school was cooperative in the investigation.

"We found the school to be forthcoming for all the information we asked for," Grey said. "However, there were violations of [three] policies, particularly in opening the [baseball] facility for a select group of athletes to practice skills for a specific sport. Weight training and conditioning is allowable, but, in this case, balls were being hit and fielded."

After learning that the FHSAA had received telephoned complaints about Nease's workouts, the Times-Union reported possible violations Jan. 15 and published photos of a Nease practice conducted Jan. 12. For that story, Nease athletic director Glenn Aspinwall said the practices, which began in early November, fell within the school's interpretation of FHSAA policy. Although the practices consisted mostly of returning Nease players, Aspinwall said he believed they fell within state guidelines because they were open to all students. …