Pembroke’s star player will get another shot
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.”