The Southeast High School football team was placed on probation and fined $1,650 because of its players’ roles in a postgame fight with players from Wauchula Hardee High School.
The Florida High School Athletic Association’s report on its investigation of what happened was released Wednesday, one day after Southeast’s promising season took a swift blow when it forfeited six games — including five wins — because of the use of an academically ineligible player. The forfeits eliminated Southeast from playoff contention heading into this week’s regular season finale against Osceola County’s Harmony High.
For the fight, Southeast was fined $1,650 for violating Policy 30, which details unsportsmanlike conduct. The Noles were hit with five counts of Level 2 unsportsmanlike conduct suspensions at $250 apiece and four counts of any unsportsmanlike conduct suspensions at $100 apiece, according to Policy 45.1 that details a monetary penalty schedule.
The Noles also received a reprimand via an official censure letter, and the varsity football program was placed on both administrative and restrictive probation through June 2018.
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With administrative probation, the program can receive increased penalties, including expulsion, for additional violations occurring between now and June 2018.
With restrictive probation, the entire varsity team roster must individually complete an approved FHSAA Sportsmanship Program no later than Nov. 10 and that can be done at nfhslearn.com.
Hardee was fined $250 for violating Policy 30 with one count of Level 2 unsportsmanlike conduct suspension, and received the same reprimand and probation penalties as Southeast.
The report for each school was sent to both principals, Southeast’s Rosa Faison and Hardee’s Michele Polk, and both schools can appeal.
There was no immediate response on whether Southeast or Hardee would appeal.
The Manatee County School District suspended six unnamed Southeast football players for four weeks for their involvement in the brawl after conducting an investigation into the incident.
While Hardee High officials did not return calls from the Bradenton Herald seeking comment, reports indicate the Wildcats suspended two players for one week.
Hardee clinched the district title with a win last week against archrival Arcadia DeSoto and guaranteed itself a playoff berth under the new FHSAA format.
Meanwhile, Southeast had been set to play for a playoff spot this week against Harmony, a Class 7A playoff bubble team, after the Seminoles scored a crucial victory at Sarasota Booker last week.
However, that win along with five other games, including district victories over Bayshore, DeSoto and Englewood Lemon Bay and a non-district victory over Cardinal Mooney, were turned into forfeit losses Tuesday after officials discovered that an academically ineligible player had suited up for the games.
The FHSAA had no immediate comment on Southeast’s use of the ineligible player.