Neiko Robinson Suspension Cut By Two Games; Officials Take Issue With FHSAA Policy
September 21, 2012
The Florida High School Athletic Association has cut Northview Chiefs senior Neiko Robinson’s suspension from six games to four.
Robinson was suspended after being ejected in the fourth quarter of a preseason kickoff game. Robinson, a transfer from the Flomaton Hurricanes and a verbal commitment to Penn State, was tossed out of the game for throwing a punch. His younger brother, Neino Robinson, was flagged for pass interference, and a brief scuffle followed.
In appealing the six game suspension, Northview did not deny that Robinson was guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct. Instead, school officials took issue with the severity of the penalty. A new FHSAA sportsmanship policy went into effect a year ago calling for an automatic six-game suspension for a player ejected for being involved in a fight.
“A six game penalty in a sport like football is excessive,” Escambia Superintendent Malcolm Thomas said. “Six games in football is most of a season; six games in basketball can be what, a couple of weeks? We are hoping that the FHSAA will take a look at that policy.”
“He did commit unsportsmanlike conduct,” Weaver said. “But we felt that the number of games was too severe in relation to the number of games in the sport.”
In reducing the suspension by two games, the FHSAA said Robinson will face school discipline.
Northview will require that Robinson make an apology to his team, a public apology to the school, visit Ernest Ward Middle School and “speak to their athletes advising them of the importance of good sportsmanship”, and participate in other Northview sports by mentoring younger players, according to Weaver’s appeal letter to the FHSAA.
“It is most important that he learn not only from his mistakes but also that, as a senior, he has the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of others, while providing him with the opportunity to make a life beyond his small community,” Weaver wrote to the FHSAA. “He made a mistake. Please help us to help him to turn it into a redemptive opportunity.”
“He has a future ahead of him in football, having received offers from Penn State and Purdue, among others,” Northview Head Coach Sid Wheatley said in his letter to the FHSAA. “He loves the game and has learned a valuable lesson.”
Robinson will sit out Friday night’s game against South Walton as the fourth game of his suspension. With the reduced suspension, he will be eligible to play September 28 against Gulf Breeze and in Northview’s first district game October 5 against the Jay Royals.
Pictured top: Senior Neiko Robinson picks up yardage for the Northview Chiefs before being ejected from an August 24 preseason game against Panama City Bay. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.