Pelham players caught with alcohol – School trip nets 10 off team

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Ten members of the Pelham High School baseball team have been kicked off the team for having alcohol during a recent trip.

The team was taking part in the Cocoa Beach Classic in Florida when the incidents occurred. The tournament was held March 21-24, during spring break week.

According to Cindy Warner, public relations supervisor for Shelby County Schools, the 10 players have been placed in alternative school, since the incidents occurred on a school trip.

&uot;They were still covered under the school code of conduct,&uot; she said.

It has not yet been determined how long the players will be in the alternative school. School and system officials are still investigating the incident. They conducted numerous interviews last week and as late as Monday.

&uot;There’s two sides to every story, and we’re piecing it all together,&uot; Warner said.

Three coaches accompanied about 21 players on the trip, according to Warner. There were also several parents making the trip.

&uot;I don’t know if they were there as chaperones,&uot; Warner said.

At least one parent of a dismissed player has alleged one of the parents on the trip gave the alcohol to the players. However, Warner said these and other claims are still under investigation.

&uot;We haven’t made a final determination yet on where (the alcohol) came from,&uot; she said. &uot;I’m not sure what kind of alcoholic beverage it was.&uot;

Officials learned of the incidents after the team returned home.

&uot;They weren’t caught on the trip. It came to light after they came home,&uot; Warner said.

This is the second major incident involving alcohol among Pelham High athletes this school year.

In late October, 18 football players received suspensions after photographs surfaced of them at a party where alcohol was present.

Pelham head baseball coach Mike O’Berry has pulled several players up from the junior varsity squad to replace the dismissed players.

While the team has struggled for much of the year – even before the suspensions – it pulled off one of its biggest wins of the season Monday, defeating Hoover, 3-1.

Pelham reportedly started two freshmen and four sophomores in the game.

Warner said the team itself would likely not be penalized for the incident, as it seeks a playoff berth. Last year’s team won the Class 6A state championship.

&uot;There’s several team members not involved in this incident at all,&uot; Warner said.

Pelham principal Bob Lavett did not return calls by presstime