Wrestling champion's eligibility bid denied again in Florida

Florida panel rules that Downey can't compete for Orlando-area high school

February 01, 2011|By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun

For the third time since he moved with his father to Florida and enrolled in high school near Orlando, Patrick Downey III's attempt to resume his once-dominant wrestling career was denied Tuesday.

Following an often contentious 90-minute session, a four-person panel voted to uphold an earlier ruling by the Florida High School Athletic Association to deny the former North County student's eligibility, meaning he will not be able to participate in wrestling there.

William Grant, an attorney hired by Downey's father, immediately asked to have the FHSAA's board of directors meet on the issue within 48 hours. Patrick Downey Jr. said that if the board of directors also denies his son's eligibility request, his attorney is prepared to appeal to an appellate judge in Seminole County on Friday — the day before the district wrestling championships are scheduled to begin.

Downey lost his eligibility at the Glen Burnie school in September after he was charged with second-degree assault, theft and robbery of a classmate. He also faces first-degree assault charges in Baltimore in two separate incidents from November 2009 and June 2010.

Downey's trial in Baltimore is scheduled for Feb. 18, the same day the Florida state wrestling finals are to begin.

Pat Downey III was being recruited by several of the country's top wrestling programs, including Penn State, according to his father. Pat Downey Jr. said that his son's college plans are now "on hold" as the result of the upcoming trials.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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