MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. -- Sidelined in the middle of their season.
Dozens of Treasure Coast Basketball League athletes showed up to practice at the Hidden Oaks Middle School gym Friday, only to find they were locked out.
The Martin County School Board is holding the key to reopen the gym.
Parents already paid a league fee to have access to the gym for the season. The school board might require them to pay more to get back in.
Jamie Adcock, spokeswoman for the Martin County School District, says Treasure Coast League President, Rance Newland, was asked by the board for proof that the organization was a registered non-profit back in October.
Adcock says Newland did not provide the documentation. As a result, Adcock says he lost the lower rate he was given as a non-profit, and was given a higher group rate than what is reserved for non-profits.
Adcock says Newland has not paid the school board in a month and a half.
Hundreds of students from all over the county participate in the league.
Parents, coaches and students are the ones stuck in the middle.
“We have an important game tomorrow and I was ready for it. It’s just… done,” said Hanna Mabrouk.
Coach Mike Di Egidio says even he was caught of guard. “It’s unbelievable that they would have the audacity to lock them out of the gym,” he said.
Di Egidio says he was handed a flier that said the rates could go up 90%.
Parents, like Claudius Taylor, say they paid a fee thinking their children were covered for the season. He’d like to be able to finish the season before paying more money.
Taylor also thinks it’s important to keep the doors open to keep kids out of trouble and on the right track.
“Where do the kids go?” Di Egidio said.
WPTV reached out to Newland Friday night and has not yet received a response to a request for comment.
Parents plan to protest at the school board meeting next week.