By David Madden
BARNEGAT, NJ (CBS) — An Ocean County high school senior is causing quite a buzz around Major League Baseball. The Phillies could use their number one draft pick to get him into their minor league system.
Just one problem.
State athletic officials have suspended him for violating a residency rule.
Jason Groome attended a boarding school in Florida, and transferred back to Barnegat High. And that’s the problem.
Mike Cherenson, a spokesman for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, explained the rule to KYW Newsradio.
“When a student transfers without a bona fide change of address, they’re required to sit for 30 days or half the maximum number of games,” Chereson said.
In Jason’s case, that means May 1 or the Bengals’s 13th game, whichever comes first. He’s already pitched two games, including a no-hitter, this season.
The team will forfeit those victories and he’s likely to miss two more starts. But more than 100 baseball business people watched him play those two games, including the Phillies GM. So they’ve got a pretty good idea of what this kid’s got.
The Barnegat Township School District released a statement that reads, in part, that it “does not feel the rule should apply in an instance when a student athlete returns to his home town, where his parents have residence and are taxpayers.”
The district will, however, abide by the ruling and expects Groome to return to the field in late April.