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Pembroke’s star player will get another shot

Matt Alosa, head coach for the Pembroke Academy Boys' basketball team, works with his team during a practice on Wednesday evening, December 14, 2011.
 
(John Tully/ Monitor photo)

Matt Alosa, head coach for the Pembroke Academy Boys' basketball team, works with his team during a practice on Wednesday evening, December 14, 2011. (John Tully/ Monitor photo)

A star basketball player at Pembroke Academy will return for his senior season after a committee, while standing firm on the initial ruling that the player’s eligibility had expired, upheld an appeal last week by the player’s parents.

In an email sent to Pembroke Headmaster Mike Reardon and relayed to the parents of senior Dominic Timbas, the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Eligibility Committee said Timbas can play “because it has become apparent that the rule has been interpreted inconsistently among member schools. The association intends to clarify the rule for the coming year.”

The NHIAA bylaw involved declares that a student has eight semesters of athletic eligibility after completing eighth grade; Timbas repeated the grade through a home-school program because, his parents claimed in their waiver request, he needed an extra year to mature before entering high school.

The family learned last month that their waiver request was rejected, a decision made by NHIAA Director Pat Corbin.

Jamie and Kim Timbas, Dominic’s parents, agreed to email the Monitor a portion of the Eligibility Committee’s recent letter, which was sent to and received from Reardon on Friday.

They withheld most of the letter, saying that releasing all the text, which was highly critical of the waiver they sought, would prolong the issue.

However, the material submitted to the Monitor makes it clear that the committee agrees with Corbin and believes that Dominic Timbas, in actuality, should not be permitted to play next season.

“It is evident that you agreed that the rule required the association to begin counting eligible semesters upon a student’s successful completion of the eighth grade,” the committee wrote to Reardon. “It is also evident that (Dominic) Timbas is not eligible under this interpretation of the rule.

“At the (appeals) hearing (May 16), (Dominic) Timbas’s attorney stated that there was no dispute that (Dominic) Timbas ‘could have gone on to the ninth grade.’ The committee therefore agrees with Mr. Corbin’s decision that, under the historic interpretation (of the bylaw), (Dominc) Timbas is not eligible.”

Regardless, the committee decided, Timbas can play for Pembroke next season.

Jamie Timbas said yesterday his family is relieved with the ruling. “We’re thrilled and grateful to the Eligibility Committee for looking at this with an open mind and doing the right thing,” he said.

Asked to comment on the letter’s criticism of his appeal, Timbas said, “No. I want it to end. The result is correct, and I want to put the issue behind (Dominic).”

Jamie Timbas spoke by phone from Roxbury, Mass., where Dominic was competing in an AAU tournament. The AAU, or Amateur Athletic Union, is a highly structured and competitive nationwide program that promotes year-round focus on a variety of sports.

The Granite State Raiders are the local basketball team, divided into age divisions and coached by Frank Alosa of Pembroke. His son, Matt Alosa, coaches the Pembroke Academy boys’ team, and it is this connection between father and son that has brought negative publicity to the school.

Critics say a recruiting pipeline, against NHIAA bylaws, exists between the Raiders and Pembroke, which has won the last two Division II state titles.

Two Raiders players suspected of transferring to Pembroke for athletic purposes were ruled ineligible last season, and that was followed by the ruling on Timbas, who attended middle school in Bedford before repeating eighth grade through home schooling in Penacook and landing in Pembroke for the start of high school.

Also, another player was stripped of a prestigious award by the NHIAA after tweeting an obscenity aimed at Portsmouth High, which lost to Pembroke in the state final in March. Pembroke supporters speculated that the player was punished because of hard feelings against the Alosas, specifically Frank Alosa.

Meanwhile, Pembroke’s future remains unclear, as Division I principals and athletic directors chose recently not to play the Spartans next season because of the school’s tarnished reputation and concerns that rule-breaking will continue.

Matt Alosa was unavailable for comment yesterday and Reardon could not be reached. Corbin, reached at a track meet, declined comment other than to say that Timbas can play next season.

Said Jamie Timbas, “Without a schedule, who do we play? This has taken a toll on our family, but right now we can’t move forward.”

Manchester Central and Memorial High schools have agreed to play Pembroke. However, the New Hampshire Union Leader has reported a rift between the principals and athletic directors who boycotted Pembroke, and district administrators who overruled them and agreed to play the Spartans.

District Athletic Director Chris Donovan had harsh words for Matt Alosa in yesterday’s Union Leader, where he addressed the fact that Pembroke will have a new headmaster this summer.

“Ideally,” Donovan told the paper, “Pembroke’s new headmaster fires the head coach and self-imposes its own sanctions and this gets resolved.”

Jamie Timbas and others have countered by saying that some school officials who have criticized Pembroke for unethical behavior have their own baggage, including players deemed eligible for eight semesters who have repeated eighth grade, and others who have apparently transferred for athletic purposes.

“Some of these athletic directors and principals have holier-than-thou attitudes,” Timbas said. “If the NHIAA took a look at that, they would be sanctioned and be under scrutiny. We all know this.”

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304 or rduckler@ cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)

Legacy Comments2

Sounds like Timbas gains his eligibility on a technicality and not because the family and school followed the guidelines established by the NHIAA. Expect a firmly worded ruling on what kids and families can and cannot do with regards to transferring for sports reasons from the NHIAA and its new director in the near future (although it seemed pretty straight forward to me and a lot of us out there). It also is clear no matter what is said that Timbas transferred for basketball reasons first and foremost. The next question to Pembroke is OK your top player is eligible - who will you play? Probably not the Manchester teams as earlier stated - the Manchester athletics committee is meeting with the board to vote on which schedules to adopt for each school - one set drawn up with Pembroke in it and one set without. There is no way without these NHIAA games that Pembroke can qualify for the state tournament. Mass and VT teams? Prep school B teams? The Harlem Globetrotters perhaps? What a mess...

Matt Alosa himself transferred to Pembroke for basketball reasons (I will say "allegedly" but those of us who lived it, believe it. Well known.). The town hasn't changed in that they clearly love the boost such maneuvering brings to the program and have allowed all these transfers to continue to flow through his father's basketball program. Can someone please shut this whole thing down and make some brave decisions for the right reasons? Parents: Your kids aren't "victims"if they can't play one more year of eligibility or if they have to play at school A instead of school B. I know it must be thrilling to watch your child dunk a basketball for the Spartans (instead of a kid actually FROM Pembroke who might clang one off the rim or go for an old man layup instead). And the hope some portion of college could get paid for through basketball endeavors you perceive to be best facilitated at P.A. must be enticing, I am sure. To the Pembroke kids on the bench (or not playing at all , absent those lost roster spots to transfers): Too bad, so sad. Get your parents to move you to a school most conducive to your basketball skills, or maybe join robotics or take up curling or something. To the parents moving their kids to the region for the Alosa Connection and hopeful college tuition windfall thereafter: Most of us love sports , but I hope one day we send our kids to school to learn and then encourage them to seek athletic activity (like basketball) OUTSIDE the school to avoid your sad manipulation of the system.

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