Update: Palm Beach and Martin County in FHSAA, Broward up in the Air, Dade County Public Schools and Brevard may be in trouble

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Update: Palm Beach and Martin County in FHSAA, Broward up in the Air, Dade County Public Schools and Brevard may be in trouble.

In the best news yet for South Florida Lacrosse regarding the FHSAA vs. SFIA debacle, both Palm Beach County and Martin County schools have approved the move to FHSAA.   The Martin County School Board met last night and to the total surprise of most observers the board voted unanimously to approve lacrosse, as well as girl’s flag football, as varsity sports.  This affects the current Martin County public school teams of South Fork, Martin County High School, and Jensen Beach High School.

Palm Beach County has also approved lacrosse as a varsity sport and most Palm Beach schools have already submitted paper work to do just that.  We are getting some mixed information, but it seems that most Palm Beach County public schools will be fielding Varsity teams and some will be doing JV and Varsity.  Most sources in Palm Beach report that Title IX considerations are the driving force behind determining if they can field JV teams or not.  Funding is not the issue in Palm Beach because these teams have always been and will continue to be “self-funded” receiving no supplements from the county budgets.

It seems that the Broward County issue is still up in the air.  As late as one month ago it seemed that everything was good and the seven Broward County Public Schools that played club lacrosse would be joining the FHSAA as Varsity teams.  Those seven schools represent about one quarter of the Broward County Schools.  However, last week, all 28 athletic directors met and there was quite a bit of resistance put up against the addition of lacrosse, and the extra work and headaches it would bring to an A.D.’s job apparently.  As a result, head of Athletics, Damian Huttenhoff, will reverse his recommendation to the board.  This leaves the Broward County teams up in the air.  Not becoming FHSAA teams would not necessarily be a death blow to lacrosse, but would require that they become completely dis-associated clubs.  If you feel that Mr. Huttenhoff is making a mistake in reversing his decision you may want to let him know.  He can be reached at 754-321-2550.  In addition, if you are a Broward County resident, you may want to contact your local School Board Rep and ask them to keep lacrosse in the school.  A list of the board members can be found here http://www.browardschools.com/schoolboard/.

It does not look good in Brevard and Dade County.  In Dade County there are only three public schools playing lacrosse.  The GMAC does not seem to feel it’s worth the trouble to provide a lacrosse experience for those three schools and instead of growing the sport in the other schools the easiest thing to do is shut it down.  The logistic problems with finding competitors will be overwhelming for these schools and make the option of becoming dis-associated clubs problematic.

The coaches we have spoken with in Brevard County are not very hopeful that lacrosse will become an FHSAA sport in Brevard County.  Most of the coaches we have spoken with believe that they will be able to continue as club teams and be in compliance with the FHSAA rules.  The lacrosse scene will certainly be different as they won’t have very many teams within easy travel distance to play, but they should be able to play.

At this point we have not spoken to any private schools that do not plan to bring their teams into FHSAA.  We believe that 100% of the private schools who played in the SFIA previously will be playing in FHSAA competition next season and be eligible for post-season FHSAA play in 2013.  We have not spoken to any Palm Beach County public schools that played in SFIA who will not play in FHSAA next season.  It appears that all of the Palm Beach County teams will, at the very least, field Varsity lacrosse teams in the FHSAA next season.    All three Martin County School will be playing lacrosse in the FHSAA next season.

Please leave comments if you have questions or if you have any additional information or perspectives on this issue.  Your thoughts and insights are always welcome at www.FloridaLacrosseNews.com!