FHSAA Ruling on Puerto Rican Players Could Have Wider Impact | Athletic Business

FHSAA Ruling on Puerto Rican Players Could Have Wider Impact

A decision regarding the eligibility of Puerto Rican high school baseball players in Florida could have unintended consequences for athletes across the state.

The Florida High School Athletic Association ruled that 11 boys who played baseball for Lake Worth High School never should have been allowed to suit up because of their living situation. 

The boys, who are all unrelated, live in Florida while their parents remain in Puerto Rico. Their parents granted power of attorney to Rafael Paris, who the boys describe as their guardian.

According to the Palm Beach Post, that’s good enough for the boys to enroll in school, but not to participate in sports. The FHSAA’s ruling says that to play ball, a guardian must be biologically related or have a court-appointed guardianship.

That distinction that could send ripples through the region, especially among students who are poor or immigrants. 

“The district is really concerned about the statewide implications,” Palm Beach County attorney Lisa Carmona said to an FHSAA appeals panel. “This isn’t about 11 students that weren’t allowed to play baseball.”

District officials said at least 500 students didn’t meet the FHSAA’s standard, according to a spokesperson. The FHSAA says, however, that it has no intention of diving into the records to search for others who might be in violation. The investigation into Lake Worth High School's baseball team was conducted after an accusation by a rival coach that the team was using ringers.

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