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FHSAA rulings leave state without a 6A football champion


Neither team won.

Armwood defeated Central 40-31 on the field, but the Hawks were forced to give up the title after the Florida High School Athletic Association demanded the team forfeit its 14 wins because of ineligible players.

Both of the teams finished the season in the 2011 Super 25 rankings: Armwood was No. 3 and Miami Central was No. 14. Miami Central is the No. 1-ranked team in the Super 25 preseason rankings for 2012.

Now, the FHSAA has found former Miami Central quarterback Austin Stock’s transfer from Douglas (Parkland, Fla.) was invalid, meaning Miami Central, which finished 13-1, will likely also have to forfeit its victories from last season.

“We are going to see if we can appeal this, but if we appeal it and we lose, (the FHSAA) will punish us,” said Miami Central football coach Telly Lockette.

FHSAA spokesman Corey Sobers said he had not received notice that Miami Central planned to appeal the findings. He added no one in the compliance department of the FHSAA could remember a case when both teams in a state title game had to forfeit their seasons. Even before the findings againt Miami Central, the 6A title for 2011 is officially vacated.

“It’s as if the game never happened,” Sobers said.

Sobers said any FHSAA sanctions, other than any possible fines, would likely only affect Miami Central’s record last season, not this season.

Though Armwood’s situation involved several ineligible players and Miami Central’s apparently only involved Stock, the cases are similar in that they involved improper moves, as defined by FHSAA bylaws.

According to the FHSAA handbook, to be eligible for sports, a student who transfers must move with his or her family to a new address in the new school district. Also, a student and parents cannot occupy a residence at more than one address.

In Stock’s case, the FHSAA determined he lived separately from his mother in a hotel in Hollywood, Fla. (which is not in Miami Central’s district) and was driven to school by a Miami Central teacher.

“Who are they going to fault in this situation?” Lockette said. “The parent, the school or the system? The liability lies with everybody.”

Stock is playing this season for California (Pa.) University, which is No. 11 in the American Football Coaches Association Top 25 preseason Division II rankings. He enrolled early at California and was on the dean’s list last spring.

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