Lakewood Ranch High is investigating allegations leveled against its girls basketball program, FHSAA spokesman Corey Sobers confirmed on Wednesday.
The FHSAA would not reveal the specifics of the allegations, saying only it involved the possibility of an ineligible athlete.
However, Megan Hagy, a 5-foot-10 sophomore and the team's second-leading rebounder, has not played since the district tournament semifinal when Lakewood Ranch defeated Palmetto.
“There are allegations involving Lakewood Ranch, and the FHSAA has begun the process of looking into the situation,” Sobers said in an email. “Our normal protocol is to make the school aware of the allegations, have them look into the situation themselves and then report back to us. From there it is dependent on what the school’s response is.”
Sobers said that because the allegations came within 45 days of the start of the postseason any determination by the FHSAA may extend to after the postseason, per FHSAA policy.
Lakewood Ranch was eliminated from postseason play Tuesday night in an overtime loss to Sarasota and finished with a 20-8 record.
Lakewood Ranch school officials, including girls head basketball coach Tina Hadley, would not give a reason why Hagy did not play. School principal Linda Nesselhauf said she would not comment when asked Tuesday night at the game.
A strong rebounder, Hagy played in Lakewood Ranch’s two victories over Sarasota, but did not play in two losses to the Sailors. The Mustangs were outrebounded Tuesday night, particularly on the offense boards, where the Sailors had an 11-6 edge.
If it is determined Lakewood Ranch used an ineligible player, the Mustangs would likely have to forfeit all the games the player participated in. Palmetto could wind up getting the district tournament runner-up trophy.