A teacher at Lehigh Senior High School has reported the school’s football program to the Florida High School Athletic Association, alleging the team held mandatory off-season conditioning practices last spring, a violation of FHSAA rules.
Kevin Riegel, a geometry teacher and boys swimming and diving coach at Lehigh, wrote in a Feb. 5 email to the FHSAA that Lightning football coach Nate Sund compelled “around 8 or 10” Lehigh track athletes who were also football players, to forgo track practice “on many occasions” last spring in favor of participating in weight room conditioning with the football team.
Riegel was the Lightning girls track coach last spring when the alleged violations occurred.
According to FHSAA Policy 21, participation in off-season conditioning programs “shall be voluntary and shall not be required, either directly or indirectly, for membership on an interscholastic team.”
Penalties for violating this policy could include a minimum fine of $2,500, loss of practice time, loss of participation in a preseason classic, reduced number of home games and a ban from the FHSAA state playoffs.
In an email addressed to Lehigh principal Jackie Corey Wednesday, FHSAA Associate Executive Director Denarvise Thornton informed her of Riegel’s allegations and directed the school to investigate and report its findings and any corrective actions it’s taken to the organization within ten business days.
Corey, who is in her first year as Lehigh’s principal, was an assistant principal at South Fort Myers High when the alleged violations occurred. When contacted by The News-Press Wednesday, she said she hadn’t yet read the entire email from the FHSAA and wouldn’t be able to comment until she had. Sund was hired last February by Lehigh, after serving as an assistant football and track coach at South.
When reached by phone, Sund declined to comment.