By: Wells Dusenbury and Ken LaVicka
The FHSAA has determined it won't investigate a controversy involving American Heritage's claims that former head coach Doug Socha sent a document containing crucial gameplan information to a playoff opponent.
"After reviewing the situation, this is an ethical issue and not a policy issue. As such, it should be handled at the local level with the school(s) involved and/or the school district."
After a week of speculation, University School-Davie head coach Roger Harriott confirmed to ESPN 760 that prior to last Friday's 3A regional final against American Heritage, the school received a document containing A-H game plan information.
American Heritage later obtained the fax from University after the game and A-H headmaster Bob Stone says former Stallions' head coach Doug Socha is responsible for it.
"[University] received a very specific package of inside information" said Stone. "It would have had to come from Doug [Socha]."
"[The players] feel very betrayed and are very frustrated."
Socha resigned as American Heritage's head coach this summer after leading the Stallions to a 3A State Championship. Socha now serves as the head coach at Oxbridge Academy and serves as the color commentator for ESPN 760's Football Night in South Florida.
On the front page of the fax, Harriott said Socha's name was on the cover sheet. In a copy of the document obtained by the Miami Herald, the name "oug Socha" can be seen on the bottom of the cover sheet. Harriott says he spoke to Socha this week when rumors came about, but said they had no prior relationship.
Socha vigorously denied claims that he sent the fax to University.
“I’ve heard of the allegations brought against me regarding helping University School, as well as Dwyer and Glades Central,” Socha said. "I did not send any faxes to University School or help them in game-planning."
"There are a lot of people who do not like American Heritage, and Doug Socha."
American Heritage assistant coach Brad Tremper though believes no one else who could have sent the information.
"This did happen," said Tremper. "We do have a copy of everything. It's all in my hands."
Stone says that the school found out the fax was sent from a UPS Store that is across the street from Oxbridge Academy, where Socha serves as the head coach.
American Heritage and Socha have stood on rocky ground in recent months. The school banned Socha from coming on campus in November to broadcast ESPN 760's Football Night in South Florida match-up featuring Dwyer and Heritage and there have been accusations from the school of Socha trying to recruit current Stallions to play for him at Oxbridge Academy.
"Parents came to our coaches last week saying he's texted or called juniors and suggested they should switch over to Oxbridge," Stone said.
While Heritage claims the fax contained information that hurt them in the game, Harriott says he saw the packet, but that it didn't affect his strategy.
"I opened it up and evaluated it on Thursday," said Harriott, who added that he didn't use the any of the contents. "Why would I change my game plan the day before the game?"
"Even if it was on a Monday or Tuesday, why would I do something we don't do?"
The document, obtained by The Miami Herald, shows that the fax was sent at 9:44 a.m. Monday, November 18th, three days before Harriott says he saw the delivery for the first time.
Harriott strongly denied claims that the packet aided University's 34-17 win over the Stallions, a re-match of last year's 3A regional title game that was won by Heritage.
"It's not enough to solidify a win. It can't even give you an advantage. It's not enough information. It's a four-page document."
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