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Armwood requests extension until June 6 to answer FHSAA

Posted May 29, 2012 by Bill Ward

Updated May 29, 2012 at 04:47 PM

Due to approaching graduation ceremonies, Armwood principal Mike Ippolito has requested an extension to file the school’s response to charges levied against the Hawks’ football program by the Florida High School Athletics Association, Hillsborough school district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said Tuesday.

The FHSAA has alleged the parents of five players from the 2011 Class 6A state championship squad falsified residency information in order to gain entry into the school. Armwood’s deadline to respond to those charges was set for today. But Cobbe said the school needs more time to properly review the information in the FHSAA’s initial report because of its graduation rehearsal, slated for Wednesday afternoon, and ceremony, scheduled for June 5.

As a result, the school is requesting an extension of June 6 to file, Cobbe said.

“With the rehearsal and ceremony, they (Armwood) feel there’s a time constraint,’’ Cobbe said. “They’re asking for more time to make sure they review everything in the (FHSAA) report properly.’‘

Cobbe said the move has nothing to do with an extension request made last week by Tampa attorney Peter Hobson, who is representing the parents of four players from the 2011 team, as well as two student-athletes who recently transferred to Armwood and were not allowed to participate in spring drills.

Hobson asked for more time in order to allow his clients to have their say in the review Armwood is conducting. But school district attorney Tom Gonzalez said Friday that is not part of the FHSAA’s due process and that parents and players can only appeal after the state levies fines and sanctions.

If any of the five players from the 2011 team mentioned in the report are determined to have falsified addresses to enter Armwood, they would be ruled ineligible and the Hawks would be stripped of their state crown and 15-0 season. The school is also facing major fines as a result of the infractions.

FHSAA Executive Director Roger Dearing told the Tampa Tribune the state is leaving the decision of whether to make the recent transfers eligible up to Ippolito and his staff at Armwood. Dearing said if the student-athletes transferred to Armwood improperly as a result of an “honest mistake,” they would be allowed to return to their previous school. But if it is learned they falsified information to enter Armwood, they would be ineligible for an entire year at any school they attend.

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