High School Sports

Archbishop McCarthy baseball gets FHSAA penalty for ineligible players, but won’t forfeit state title

Archbishop McCarthy Mavericks celebrate on the pitchers mound after defeating Jesuit High Tigers 5-1in Class 6A State Baseball Championship at Centurylink Sports Complex - Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers on Sat., June 3, 2017.
Archbishop McCarthy Mavericks celebrate on the pitchers mound after defeating Jesuit High Tigers 5-1in Class 6A State Baseball Championship at Centurylink Sports Complex - Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers on Sat., June 3, 2017. adiaz@miamiherald.com

An investigation by the Florida High School Athletic Association has determined that the Archbishop McCarthy baseball team fielded three ineligible players who received impermissible benefits this past season.

FHSAA spokesman Kyle Niblett confirmed on Friday that the Mavericks, who won their seventh state title in the past eight years this past June, will be forced to forfeit all 22 of their regular season victories, have been fined $15,947 by the FHSAA and will be placed on administrative probation until June 30, 2018.

Since the three players in question did not participate in the state playoffs and since every team in McCarthy’s district qualifies automatically for the postseason, the Mavericks will not be forced to forfeit their state championship.

McCarthy went 29-2 on the field this past season and finished ranked No. 2 in nearly every national poll. However, the Mavericks were ranked No. 1 in MaxPreps’ Composite Baseball rankings, which average the combined ratings from seven polls.

The investigation began after the FHSAA received two anonymous letters, one in November and one in February.

The three players named in a copy of the FHSAA report were determined to have received impermissible aid for tuition and housing from representatives of the McCarthy baseball programs.

However, neither individual is a member of the team’s coaching staff.

One of the players was mentioned in the report to have told the FHSAA investigator that his father borrowed an amount in excess of $7,100 from Laura Cenci, who was described in the report as "a representative of the school’s athletic interest."

The other individual named in the report, Mike Sagaro, runs the travel baseball team MVP Banditos and is the father of a player on the Mavericks’ team. The report mentioned he had provided temporary housing for one of the players and provided illegal benefits to all three players. An American Express card in his name was listed as being tied to one of the players’ tuition accounts at the school.

The school has been fined $5,000 for each player, plus $947 to reimburse the FHSAA for the cost of the investigator.

All three players have been ruled ineligible until Jan. 25, 2018 for receiving the impermissible benefits.

Archbishop McCarthy informed the FHSAA it has since implemented a policy on who may submit tuition payments to students.

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