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County AD: Arwmood’s response to FHSAA charges could “take a while”
Posted May 16, 2012 by Bill Ward
Updated May 16, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Hillsborough County athletic director Lanness Robinson said Armwood’s response to the allegations presented by the Florida High School Athletics Association on Monday could require the 10 full business days allotted to it by the association.
Robinson said much of that time would likely be spent by he and Armwood principal Mike Ippolito speaking to the parents whom the FHSAA report claim either falsified documents to gain entry into Armwood or did not make the required full and complete move prior to registering for the Seffner school.
In addition, Robinson said he and the school need to sort out the eligibility status of the five other players mentioned in the report that arrived at the school this year but are not eligible to participate in spring drills currently taking place.
“It’s going to take a while,” Robinson said Wednesday. “There are five kids named from last year, and five additional kids from this year, whom the FHSAA want information about as well.”
The Tampa Tribune received a copy of the FHSAA’s tentative findings but have chosen not to name the players involved due to their ages.
FHSAA Executive Director Roger Dearing says Armwood can respond to the allegations in one of three ways: 1) Yes, there was a violation; 2) No, there was not a violation and the investigator got the facts wrong or 3) Yes, there was a violation but there were extenuating circumstances that caused a violation. Dearing said for the second or third response, it’s up to the school to present evidence to the FHSAA proving the point.
Dearing said there was no evidence of recruiting with Armwood’s football program, which last fall went 15-0 and won the Class 6A state championships. All violations and potential current violations regard residency issues with former or current players.
Once Armwood responds to the FHSAA’s allegations, the FHSAA has 10 business days to give its final letter to Armwood listing fines and sanctions. Dearing said unless the Hawks can prove all five former players met residency requirements, the team would have to forfeit any and all games they participated in, including the playoffs.
If that happens, it means Armwood will officially lose its state crown—its third since 2003—and the 6A title will be vacated.
“Our investigator could be wrong—it has happened before—but it doesn’t happen very often,” Dearing said.