Archive for February, 2011

Weekend at Bernie’s
February 13, 2011

There are some stories we in TV call “newspaper stories”: worthy, interesting stories that  just won’t translate well in a 75-second broadcast.  They may be too complicated to be properly told, too lacking in video, or, as in the case of Bernard Wright, just not complete without the main character.

 And so, we haven’t aired the story we’ve been working on for days about Bernard Wright because, well, we just can’t find him. 

Why are we looking for Mr. Wright? 

 Bernard Wright is the so-called legal guardian of Bryan Delancy, Krop High School’s basketball player at the center of a fight over eligibility.  

Quick backgrounder: Just as Krop’s championship team headed for state playoffs, the Florida High School Athletic Assocation yanked Delancy’s eligibility citing a technical issue with his student visa.  The FHSAA voided almost all of the Krop basketball team’s winning season because of it. Delancy’s supporters pleaded and cajoled, pitched it to reporters and took it all to court, arguing an immigration technicality shouldn’t matter in the face of the team’s hard work.

What they failed to mention was, Delancy‘s visa is probably not the biggest issue here.  That title may fall to his “legal guardian”  Bernard Wright, whom you haven’t seen on the news.

Turns out, Wright is not Delancy’s “uncle”, as his supporters described him, as they spun a tale of how Uncle Bernie invited 19 year old Delancy to live with him when he came here from the Bahamas for a good education.  And because Wright lives in the Krop school district boundaries, they said, Delancy – who happens to play basketball pretty well – is a perfectly valid Krop student.

Delancy’s attorney confirmed Wright is not his uncle in a call last week that ended up with a curt hang-up when I pressed whether the teen really does live in Wright’s home. 

And where is Wright’s home, anyway?

He apparently does not live in the Miami Lakes-area apartment listed on his Florida driver’s license, nor at the Northeast Miami-Dade home where he gets mail. 

He also doesn’t seem to live at the address in the Krop district that Bryan Delancy has on file in school records.  And neither does Delancy, himself, according to the guard at the gate who appears in the photo from our video.

But those pesky residency requirements may also not be the biggest issue. 

Turns out, legal guardian Bernard Wright, definitely not an uncle, is a former basketball coach.  And he coached at the very school in Miami where Delancy first registered on a student visa from Bahamas three years ago.  That small private school housed at the site of the Miami Rescue Mission was known for its basketball program, according to an administrator there.  We saw the trophies that prove it. 

Did Bernard Wright recruit Delancy, bring him here from the Bahamas as a basketball prospect? … Then fudge records so he could play for Krop and help take it to the championships? 

That would be the biggest no-no of all.

Recruiting is one of the FHSAA’s most serious offenses.  The association’s spokesperson told me, it’s about fairness and equality for all students, to ensure schools are not “importing seven-footers from some other country to come” and win championships.  

A little Google-ing around leads to information that indicates Bryan Delancy would not be Bernard Wright’s first international recruit.

In an article in the Birmingham (Alabama) News last summer, a sports reporter chronicles the history of two college prospects who came to the United States from Ivory Coast with – guess who? – “uncle” Bernard Wright as their legal guardian; they lived with him, and they played for him at that same Miami private school.


Oh, and Wright has long ties to Krop’s current basketball coach; they’ve worked together at other schools over the years.

Another coincidence?

Not to the FHSAA.  The association people have heard all this evidence, as circumstantial as it may be at the moment.  And they plan to investigate it all as soon as they finish with the visa issue that opened Pandora’s Box on Krop’s basketball court. 

Maybe, by that time, we’ll actually find Bernard Wright, and we’ll have the main character on camera so we can broadcast our story.

If you talk to him, please tell him to call me.