Top MLB prospect Jason Groome of Barngeat High has been ruled ineligible by the NJSIAA for a violation of transfer rules. Barnegat must forfeit the two games Groome pitched in.
Barnegat pitcher and top MLB prospect Jason Groome has been ruled ineligible by the NJSIAA for a violation of transfer rules in a story first reported by nj.com. Groome spent his first two years at Barnegat High before transferring to IMG Academy in Florida to raise his profile as a baseball prospect. After catapulting to one of the top high school pitchers in the nation, Groome made the choice to return to Barnegat for his senior season and play one more season with his hometown friends and teammates before the June 9th MLB Amateur Draft. The NJSIAA has ruled Groome ineligible because he did not sit out 30 days for transferring. As a result, the two games Groome pitched in, both Barnegat wins, have been forfeited and Groome’s 19 strikeout, no hit performance against Central Regional is wiped out of the record books.
The Barnegat school district released a statement following the announcement:
“The Barnegat Township School District does not feel the rule should apply in an instance when a student athlete returns to his home town, where his parents have residence and are taxpayers. Upon leaving the IMG Academy in Florida, Jason Groome could have chosen to play for any varsity high school baseball program in the United States. He chose Barnegat because his family and friends are here. We stand behind Jay, our team, coaches and administration. The district is, however prepared to accept the sanctions imposed by the NJSIAA, as well as voluntarily forfeit the first two wins of our baseball season. Sanctions include that Groome must be deemed ineligible to participate for 30 days or half of the maximum games. The school district recognizes our misinterpretation of the NJSIAA residency rule and apologies go out to the team, the players, the coaches, and the families of Barnegat High School baseball as well as our community.”
Groome posted the following message via his Twitter account:
“I want to thank everyone who has reached out in support! I’m proud and happy to be back Home with my family and friends. The adversity continues to prepare me for the future (#dreamchasin) and looking forward to moving on from this decision and winning a state championship with my team!”
The 6-foot-5 lefthander was scheduled to pitch this Saturday night in Red Bank against RBC as part of the Shore Conference’s Strike Out Autism. His first two starts brought dozens of scouts and MLB executives to Barnegat to watch him pitch in two dominating performances against Point Pleasant Boro and Central Regional. Groome can return to the Barnegat varsity roster following 30 days or 12 games into the season.
Watch our highlights from both of Jason Groome’s starts as well as our SSZ feature on the senior pitcher:
When it’s all said and done, Groome will likely miss two more starts and return to the top of the Barnegat rotation in late April or early May. If you watch the video above, it’s safe to say that the suspension will have no effect on his MLB Draft status whatsoever.