Coral Gables Cavaliers robbed of chance at State Championship… because of positive covid tests at Columbus

David Winker

What is happening is so unfair and nonsensical that it seems like the plot of a bad after-school TV special.

The Coral Gables High men’s basketball team has been unstoppable this year, winning the Greater Miami Athletic Conference tournament with a win over the Columbus Explorers.  And the Cavaliers followed that up with its first District Championship since 2006 with another win over Columbus.

But the Cavaliers quest for a State Title was stopped… by Covid issues at arch rival Columbus High.

Gables has soundly defeated Columbus three times this year, the last on February 12.  But three days after that game, a number of coaches and players at Columbus tested positive for Covid.

And that’s when things got bizarre.

Gables was forced by the Miami-Dade School Board to forfeit its game on February 20 against Palmetto just hours before the game because of exposure to the Columbus players that tested positive.

But guess who was allowed to play at Ferguson High on February 20 to continue its playoff run?  Yes, Columbus was allowed to play and moved on in the playoffs after a 63-51 win.

None of this makes any sense, of course.  Why do private and public schools in Miami-Dade have different protocols?  Why was Columbus allowed to play a Miami-Dade public school at a Miami-Dade School Board facility just a few days after reporting positive tests, but Coral Gables- whose players and coaches had all tested negative- was forced to forfeit its game.

These kids and Coach Humberto “Tico” Govea and his assistant coaches have worked hard all year to make this season possible and it is unacceptable that it ends like this.

Where is the leadership at the School Board and Florida High School Athletic Association to ensure that this gets fixed and these kids get to play?

David Winker, Esq. is a Coral Gables business attorney active on civic issues.

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