Drug Dealers Rejoice …. You Can Play Ball In Anne Arundel County

March 06, 2008 |

If you listened to Drew Forrester yesterday, than you probably heard him mention the saga regarding Tyler Hibbs, the high school phenom, from Anne Arundel County.

Here’s the deal ….. Tyler Hibbs was arrested by Anne Arundel County Police, on February 26th. During a routine traffic stop, the officer smelled the odor of burning marijuana emanating from Hibbs’ vehicle.

A subsequent search of the vehicle yielded approximately 46 grams of marijuana, which was packaged in several small, measured baggies. Police also recovered a digital scale. Given the entirety of the circumstances, Hibbs was charged with “possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance.”

As of Tuesday, Hibbs was still practicing with his Arundel High School teammates, as they prepare for the upcoming baseball season. Hibbs is arguably the best player on the team, and a 2008 Louisville Slugger Preseason All American.

Hibbs is no stranger to individual accolades or distinction, either. He’s an “All County” and “All Metro” performer. In fact, he was the Baltimore Sun’s “All Metro – Player Of The Year,” as a sophomore, in 2006.

He has a scholarship to Florida State University, where he’s expected to pitch during the 2009 season. Tyler Hibbs is a legitimate professional prospect and usually the best player on a diamond, when he steps on it.

He’s also a suspected drug dealer.

Call it what you will. Twist it …. turn it …. roll it inside out. In the end, you’ve got a young man who’s been arrested and charged with a serious felony ….. in the very community where he plays baseball and goes to school.

Although, I’m surprised and disappointed by Hibbs’ alleged conduct (I’ve met him and his parents under pleasant circumstances), I’m further dismayed at the reluctance of the Anne Arundel County Public Schools to take any action, as it relates to the baseball field. Given my dismay and resulting interest, I decided to verify the validity of the circumstances.

My inquiries finally found some resolution late yesterday afternoon, when I received a call from Greg LeGrand, of the Anne Arundel County Public Schools. I’d like to identify the specific component Mr. LeGrand works within, but a check of the school system’s athletic department website revealed it’s still being updated for the 2007-2008 school year. Wow, that’s timely …. they’ll probably be ditching rotary phones, next year.

When I asked Mr. LeGrand about the Hibbs situation, he advised the school system is virtually powerless in these specific circumstances, because the alleged offense occurred outside the playing season of the cited sport.

Follow me here ….. because the arrest occurred on February 26th, and baseball tryouts didn’t begin until March 1st (yep – 4 days later), established policy forbids the school system from taking any action against the star athlete. Well, I feel better …..

Here’s a message to ALL ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES ….. if you’re gonna commit a felony, do it outside the given season of your respective sport.

So, if drug dealers/athletes peddle their product outside the season ….. even if they get busted ….. they can still play high school sports and risk infecting other impressionable kids with the ills of their poor personal character.

Let’s consider the mitigating circumstances drug dealing can attract. Here’s a tidbit of information to chew on ….. when a narcotics investigator makes application for a Search and Seizure Warrant during a drug investigation, certain elements are taken into consideration …..knowing that drug dealing and violence are common bedfellows.

Whether it’s firearms, gang activity or any other form of violence, it’s reasonable and prudent to suggest that drug dealing is commonly accompanied by dangerous means. Thus, isn’t it also reasonable to further suggest that adults, who’ve been arrested and charged with a felony count of “possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance” should not be on the high school baseball team?

This is crazy. Later in the afternoon, I finally spoke with Bob Mosier (Anne Arundel County Public Schools – Public Information Officer). Mr. Mosier essentially reiterated everything Mr. LeGrand advised.

However, he did advise that the affected school’s principal does have an alternative tool for dealing with such a problem. If a student is alleged to have committed a potentially violent criminal offense, a principal can rely upon the “community offense policy” and formally request that the student be transferred to another school – outside the community. Hmmm …. sounds like transferring the problem to me.

No offense to the affected parties ….. but, the Baltimore Orioles will win the American League’s Eastern Division before Sharon Stratton (Arundel principal) successfully transfers Tyler Hibbs to a competing school. Ahh, what the heck ….. put him in an Old Mill uniform – PROBLEM SOLVED. If Bernie Walter’s hair could turn any whiter …. it would when Hibbs packed up his belongings and said “I’ll wave to ya from the other dugout, coach.”

Some things in life ain’t happening. Elvis isn’t going to surface in a Vegas donut shop. George W. Bush will not serve another term (thank GOD) and Tyler Hibbs won’t be getting shipped to another “community” school …… and a competing team. Bet on that.

I pointedly asked Mr. Mosier if under the current policy “a kid from Northeast High School could go to the community of Glen Burnie ….. commit armed robberies at a few 7-11’s ….. get caught – released on bail….. and still play on the high school baseball team, if the incident occurred a few days before tryouts began?” Mr. Mosier advised that such a student could still play baseball or be transferred under the “community offense policy.” Great ….. he can go infect the morale of the baseball team at Broadneck High School !!!!

There also seems to be the debate regarding “alleged criminal offenses.” This reference was made during the conversations with both Mr. LeGrand and Mr. Mosier. They were quick to remind me that Tyler Hibbs hasn’t been convicted of any crimes. It’s great to see their interest is in protecting the accused, rather than everyone else !!!!

So, is Tyler Hibbs supposed to remain eligible until his case is resolved after the baseball season? That hardly makes any sense. Someone needs to sound an alarm on Riva Road ….. WAKE UP, MR. SUPERINTENDENT !!!!

We also debated the prospect of troubled kids being involved in sports and “embraced” when they screw up. Perhaps, being embraced in the right atmosphere is a productive thing. However, within a couple weeks/months and in front of a crowd representing the same community they’re accused of committing a drug-related felony in – is arguably not a good idea.

We live in an era when schools lock their doors, and take every preventative measure to discourage violence. Heck, I can recall phoning Arundel High School, in the past, and being advised that “this call is being recorded.”

I sure hope Tyler Hibbs hasn’t developed any rivals during his alleged foray into the world of distributing drugs. If such a rival shows up at an Arundel High School baseball game, who’ll protect the other players and fans? I’m just wondering …..

If Hibbs is allowed to play baseball, will Anne Arundel County Public Schools provide uniformed security at all games? I think this is a prudent consideration. Knowing that drug trafficking solicits an unseedy underworld should be a prime factor in providing security at events where alleged drug dealers, and those awaiting trial for such offenses, are participating.

While I appreciate the cooperation of Mr. Mosier and Mr. LeGrand, I would openly question whether they are qualified to render an informed opinion regarding the dangers and resulting effects of drug trafficking, as well as societal implications. For the record, they didn’t attempt to take such a stance. But, it would be nice to see someone from the school system do so.

I find it strange that a professional sports league, like the NFL, has more leverage over players than a school system has over its student athletes. In a time when player unions are at their strongest, and every player is represented by an agent, the commissioner still wields more power than an administrator tasked with supervising kids.

Yeah ….. let an NFL player get arrested for the very offense Tyler Hibbs is accused of committing, and he’ll certainly meet tougher sanctions. What does this say for Anne Arundel County Public Schools? Roger Goodell has more authority over grown men, who are being paid, than Kevin Maxwell (Anne Arundel County Public Schools – Superintendent) has over kids he’s ensured to educate. Right?

Roger Goodell has an established track record. He has suspended players for being arrested for criminal offenses ….. before they’ve gone to trial. Such suspensions have resulted from conduct that occurred during the off-season. What is Kevin Maxwell’s track record with students who get arrested and want to play sports?

Let’s be blunt, this really isn’t about Tyler Hibbs. He’s merely the textbook example for the argument. This is really about exposing a public school system for practicing such dysfunctional policies, that it allows students who have been arrested for serious felonies to continue in extracurricular activities.

I guess we shouldn’t worry about the freshmen, sophomores and juniors that revere Tyler Hibbs. Let them continue to absorb his “spell” on a daily basis. Let’s not worry about the propensity for violence, because a suspected drug dealer (who’s been charged with a felony) is on the team. No worries ….. it’s all good.

I’m not reaching ….. if you draw a sketch of a gun in an Anne Arundel County School, you’re in deep trouble. But, if you get caught with a distributable quantity of marijuana …. albeit, off school grounds – you can still play baseball on the high school team. Well, at least Tyler Hibbs can.

If history has taught us anything, it can be suggested that when we subsidize or passively encourage something to exist ….. we get MORE of it. So, perhaps, Anne Arundel County Public Schools can become the feeder system for all student athletes currently navigating their way through the criminal justice system.

On the opening day of a respective season, teams can view “The Longest Yard” and allow Adam Sandler and his crew to inspire them toward another successful season. This is great stuff.

Hmmm ….. I wonder if we’d be having this debate if a “fringe player” committed such an offense? Probably not ….. but this is about the best player in Anne Arundel County. They can’t sit him, right ???