Dominic Timbas, Pembroke Academy’s star player, ruled ineligible for senior year
In yet another move that has rocked the school’s boys’ basketball team and the entire district, the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association has ruled that Pembroke Academy’s star player is ineligible for next season.
NHIAA Director Pat Corbin said yesterday he denied a waiver seeking to allow Dominic Timbas, a 6-foot-5 forward, to play his senior year.
Corbin would not say why Timbas, who’s already played three seasons at Pembroke and helped it win consecutive state titles, needed a waiver to play another season.
But Timbas’s mother, Kimberly Timbas, faxed the Monitor Corbin’s response to the waiver request sent to him by Pembroke Headmaster Mike Reardon.
In it, Corbin cited NHIAA bylaws that say an athlete is permitted eight semesters of high school sports eligibility after completing eighth grade.
Timbas finished eighth grade at Lurgio Middle School in Bedford, then repeated the grade in a home-school program in Penacook.
That, Corbin said in his letter, amounted to redshirting, a common practice in college sports in which a player is left off a sports team as a freshman, leaving four more years of eligibility while helping the student adjust to college life and improve athletic skills.
Corbin, who made the decision by himself, apparently thought Timbas repeated eighth grade to gain an advantage athletically, not to help him mature and grow emotionally, as the letter from Reardon had said.
“Mr. and Mrs. Timbas report having made this decision because they felt their son was not ready for high school academically or socially,” Reardon wrote to Corbin.
Responded Corbin, “The restriction promotes, among other things, timely progress toward graduation by discouraging students from delaying their high school education. . . . It specifically aims to prevent redshirting.”
Corbin added that Timbas’s grades, plus comments made about him in documentation provided by Jamie and Kimberly Timbas, gave no indication that Dominic needed to repeat eighth grade.
“His report card did not note any repeated infractions or unacceptable behavior,” Corbin wrote. “In short, there is nothing in his Bedford records to indicate that (Dominic) Timbas needed to repeat the eighth grade.”
Fuel to the fire
Corbin’s ruling adds to the contentious relationship between the state’s governing body and the basketball community in Pembroke.
Rumblings and rumors have been swirling about recruiting violations for several years, after Matt Alosa was named head coach at Pembroke, his alma mater.
Matt’s father, Frank Alosa, coaches the Concord-based AAU Granite State Raiders, an elite program for students of all ages. The Raiders have no boundary restrictions, meaning they can draw talent from across the state. Enrollments at public schools such as Pembroke are defined by school districts.
High school coaches have long suspected that the Raiders program serves as a feeder system to Pembroke’s roster, funneling players from father to son against the rules.
Events casting Pembroke in a bad light have moved rapidly in recent months, beginning with a ruling that said two Pembroke players, transfers from other schools, were ineligible to play this past season.
Corbin acknowledged yesterday that he and other NHIAA officials had concerns over why the players left their schools. Players who switch schools for athletic purposes must sit out a year, even if they move into the proper school district, which is required, and recruiting violations are not proven.
Next, Pembroke guard Pat Welch was stripped of the Player of the Year Award after he tweeted an obscenity aimed at Portsmouth High School, the team Pembroke beat to win the Division II championship in March.
At the time, many believed Welch had been targeted by the NHIAA because of the recruiting controversy surrounding the program.
Then, after Pembroke successfully petitioned to move to Division I next season, the board responsible for scheduling, made up of principals and athletic directors, ruled that none of the D-I teams would play Pembroke in 2014-15, citing its concerns over the program’s inability to govern itself properly.
Tim Powers, the athletic director at Pinkerton Academy and president of the Division I Principals and Athletic Directors, said yesterday there have been no discussions between his group and Pembroke about including Pembroke in D-I scheduling.
“I don’t believe they can go back to Division II next year,” Powers said. “They’d have to go out of state to play games.”
Meanwhile, Jamie Timbas said yesterday he did not move his family from Bedford to Pembroke three years ago because of his son’s ties to the Raiders program, which has helped groom Dominic’s skills in recent years.
“Absolutely not,” Jamie Timbas said. “Don’t tell me as a parent you know better than I do what’s best for my kid. My son was around kids that were starting to do drugs at the same time he was playing basketball for the Raiders, and my wife and I decided our son would be better off around the good kids at the Raiders program and at Pembroke. We decided that because they were my son’s friends, it would be a better environment to move our family to Pembroke. Basketball was a very small part of it.”
Next, Jamie Timbas said he hopes the NHIAA’s appeals process will reinstate Dominic. If it doesn’t, he’s prepared to take Corbin and the NHIAA to court, which will add to an ongoing saga that has Pembroke and its surrounding communities buzzing.
“It’s such a mess here that so many parents and so many kids are walking around like zombies not knowing what anyone did wrong and what the future holds,” Jamie Timbas said. “It’s scary what’s transpiring here.”