Jason Groome, considered to be the number one pitching prospect in the country and a potential first overall pick in the 2016 draft, has been ruled ineligible New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association for violating the transfer rule, Phil Anastasia of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Groome’s statistics for the 2016 season have also been wiped out.
Groome transferred from the IMG Academy in Florida back to his hometown in Barnegat, New Jersey.
Per Steve Politi of NJ Advance Media, NJSIAA spokesman Michael Cherenson said in a statement, “A student-athlete transferring from one secondary school to another must provide evidence of a bona fide change of residence.”
Groome was supposed to sit out the first 30 days but didn’t. As Politi points out, the transfer rule is easily worked around and Groome was punished because he didn’t try to game the system. Politi talked to an unnamed high school basketball coach, who said, “They should have told the state that the kid and his father were living in an empty beach house (in Barnegat). There’s your bona fide change of address.”
The Phillies have the first overall pick in the 2016 draft. Because Groome is from a nearby area, there is some thought that the Phillies would take Groome at no. 1. ESPN’s Keith Law, however, said in a recent chat that he doesn’t think the Phillies want to take a high school arm at no. 1.