The Miramar High football team has officially been banned from the state playoffs after the school self-reported allegations of ineligible students and "impermissible benefits" to players. Principal Loli Formoso sent parents an email explaining that the school was pulling out of the playoffs and the reasons why.
On Thursday morning, players, parents, and team supporters showed up outside the Broward County School Board offices to protest the decision.
About 30 protesters waved signs and chanted "Let us play!" in a show of solidarity of their disagreement over the school's decision to pull out of the 2014 Florida High School Athletic Association playoffs.
The entire scenario unfolded in October when Head Coach Matthew Strout abruptly resigned after allegations came out that Miramar High had allowed ineligible players to play on the team. Strout also allegedly paid a player $1,000 to transfer to Miramar.
Miramar High had also self-reported that a receiver on the team played even though his GPA was below the required 2.0. The school was given leniency over the GPA incident, but the latest allegations forced the school to vacate its playoff berth.
The school sent an email to parents Wednesday, explaining the reason for ending Miramar's season so abruptly:
"On October 31, 2014, Miramar High School self-reported impermissible benefits to the FHSAA (Florida High School Athletic Association). Based on additional allegations and upon further investigation, we will be vacating our seeding in the Florida High School State Championship. The matter continues to be under investigation by the school board police."
While the allegations have led to the school punishing itself, the FSHAA could bring down even more sanctions after it conducts its own investigation, including fining the school up to $2,500 per player per game and forfeiture of wins.
"The FHSAA will determine the next steps on how the playoffs will proceed for Broward County high schools," Tracy Clark, a school district spokeswoman, said in a statement.
Mirimar had been one of the top-ranked teams in the state in Class 8A to start the season, and while it lost three games this year, it was still expected to make some noise in the playoffs.
Miramar protest sign pic.twitter.com/yP63zaR8Jb— Steve Gorten (@sgorten) November 13, 2014
Miramar football players at protest huddling and chanting "Dark Side"in support of program pic.twitter.com/VoxRp52Xpz— Steve Gorten (@sgorten) November 13, 2014
Miramar HS football players protest at Broward School HQ. Joe Cavaretta pic.twitter.com/J99l3oN9tS— Sun Sentinel Photos (@PhotoSSentinel) November 13, 2014