Posted: 4:16 pm Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

FHSAA: No punishment coming in American Heritage-University scandal 

By Matt Porter

The Florida High School Athletics Association won’t punish anyone after the scandal involving American Heritage, Fort Lauderdale-University School and a mysterious fax.

On Tuesday, the FHSAA said neither school violated its policies in the matter of a fax sent to University’s football office in advance of their Nov. 23 Class 3A regional final.

“After reviewing the situation, this is an ethical issue and not a policy issue,” the FHSAA said in a statement to The Post. “As such, it should be handled at the local level with the school(s) involved and/or the school district.”

Both American Heritage and University School are private schools and are not under the jurisdiction of the Palm Beach County or Broward County school districts.

On Monday, Nov. 19, a fax containing American Heritage’s playbook, signals, strengths and weaknesses and other inside information was sent to University School from a UPS Store location in West Palm Beach. Harriott told The Post last week he looked at the material, which he estimated to be 15-25 pages, but did not share it with his team or use it in his game plan. Last Wednesday, he shared four pages of the fax (which can be viewed here (.PDF)) with Heritage.

Heritage administrators did not fault University for possessing the material, but accused former Heritage coach and current Oxbridge Academy coach Doug Socha of sending it. Socha said he did not.

Heritage headmaster Bob Stone said he accepts the FHSAA’s decision.

“If it doesn’t violate any of their rules, I understand that,” American Heritage headmaster Bob Stone said. “As an ethical matter, [Socha is] not an employee of ours. I think everyone involved [at Heritage] has made peace with it.”

University coach Roger Harriott was not immediately available for comment.

University (11-0) beat Heritage 34-17 in the regional final and will play Madison County in Saturday’s 3A state championship.