Left-handed prep pitcher Jason Groome, who is a strong candidate to go No. 1 overall in June’s MLB First-Year Player Draft, has been suspended for up to 30 days for violating the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) transfer rule.
Groome’s high school must forfeit victories in which he played in this season and erase his statistics, including his no-hitter he threw last Monday when he tallied 19 strikeouts.
Groome was suspended because he changed schools without changing addresses. Now he will be ineligible for either 30 days or for half the team’s season, which means he could return as soon as May 1.
He attends Barnegat High (N.J.) and attended the school his freshman and sophomore year. However, he transferred to Florida’s IMG Academy as a junior. Groome was only at IMG for his spring semester of his junior year, before retiring to Barnegat without changing home addresses.
The NJSIAA explained the suspension in a statement.
“While NJSIAA will not comment on specific circumstances related to a particular student athlete, the association’s rules clearly state that a student-athlete transferring from one secondary school to another must provide evidence of a bona fide change of residence as defined by NJSIAA rules. Otherwise, that student will be deemed ineligible to participate in interscholastic athletic competition for 30 calendar days or half of the maximum number of games allowed in that sport by NJSIAA rules. Further, if it is determined that an ineligible player participated in regular season games, those games must be forfeited. Neither ruling is open to appeal.”
A 6-foot-5, 230-pound hurler, Groome is the favorite to be selected by Philadelphia with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. The 17-year-old possesses a 97 mph fastball, a devastating curveball and a solid changeup.
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