No more funny business.
No more breaking contracts at free will or forfeiting games at random.
And while we are at it: No playoffs for the next three school years.
That is what the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) is telling three football programs across the state after they forfeited games or failed to show up to a game resulting in forfeiture of the game.
In a decision executed by FHSAA Executive Director George Tomyn using FHSAA Administrative Procedure 126.96.36.199.4, Trinity Prep (Winter Park), Northside Christian (St. Petersburg) and St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park) were all hit with the three-year playoff ban after failing to live up to the contracts for games between Frostproof, Victory Christian (Lakeland) and Trinity Christian (Deltona) respectively all within the last two weeks.
According to documents obtained by FloridaHSFootball.com from the FHSAA Frostproof, Victory Christian and Trinity Christian all submitted communication requesting remedy for the impact of the situation with the assistance of the FHSAA to help resolve the situations that did not result in a positive outcome for the games to be played.
In all instances, Trinity Prep, Northside Christian and St. Johns Country Day were found all in violation of FHSAA Bylaw 8.4 regarding Contracts of the FHSAA Handbook with these pertinent parts:
“8.4.1 General Principles. Contracts are required for all interscholastic athletic contests involving member schools and/or non-FHSAA member Florida schools, excluding Florida High School State Championships. The principal and the designated FHSAA Representative (where applicable) or Athletic Director must execute such contracts.”
“Article 8.4.2 Cancellation of Contract. Contracts may be canceled by mutual consent any time at least seven (7) days prior to the event.”
“Article 188.8.131.52 Disputed Cancellation. If the parties fail to reach agreement on contract cancellation, the matter will be referred to the Executive Director for adjudication.”
“Article 184.108.40.206.1 Appealing of Decision. If the Executive Director’s decision is appealed, the decision of the Sectional Appeals Committee or Board of Directors shall be final.”
“Article 220.127.116.11.2 Failure to Comply. Non-compliance with the final decision by either principal shall subject the school to a penalty, which may include expulsion.”
“Article 8.4.3 Failure to Meet Contractual Obligations. Any school which does not fulfill the terms of any valid contract or enters into an invitational tournament and does not compete until elimination shall be subjected to a financial penalty at the discretion of the Executive Director.”
Furthermore, Northside Christian has been required to reimburse Victory Christian $2,302.00 for anticipated financial losses as it was a scheduled home game for Victory Christian on September 7 by November 2, the last regular season play date for the 2018 season. Frostproof and Trinity Christian will not be reimbursed as those games were away games for both programs with Trinity Prep and St. Johns Country Day respectively.
The three-year playoff ban, which applies to the 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, will essentially make the programs independent even if they are assigned to a classification currently or are assigned to one in the next year once reclassification occurs after the current season is over with. The playoff ban will also include a ban on any post-season bowl games as well.
Trinity Prep has been a recent playoff team in Class 3A as well as Northside Christian in Class 2A. St. Johns Country Day has been an independent program for the last few years, but could be in the mix to eventuall rejoin Class 2A in the future.
Trinity Prep, Northside Christian and St. Johns Country Day all have ten (10) business days to appeal the FHSAA’s findings, if they choose to do so.
In the end of all of this, it is about protection for FHSAA member schools.
“The FHSAA must protect the integrity of the playoff point system,” said FHSAA PR Specialist, Kyle Niblett.