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FHSAA approves just one of four Armwood players seeking eligibility

Posted Aug 3, 2012 by Bill Ward

Updated Aug 3, 2012 at 01:28 PM

Just one of the four Armwood football players seeking to gain their athletic eligibility received approval today from the Florida High School Athletics Association’s Sectional Appeals Committee that met to hear the student-atheletes’ individual cases in Bradenton.

The lone winner was Aaron Evans, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound offensive lineman who played last season at Seffner Christian. The seven-member committee accepted new evidence in his case that it believed proved without question Evans is living within Armwood’s district with his father, Jim Evans.

“I’m relieved,” Aaron Evans said. “There were confusing statements and I’m glad it’s cleared up now.

“Honestly, it was in God’s hands for me. I wasn’t stressing out about it. I just prayed and which ever way it goes was OK with me.”

The committee denied the eligibility requests of offensive lineman Gabe Nold, who transferred to Armwood from Wharton in January, running back Greg Newton, who played last year for the Hawks after switching from Tampa Catholic, and linebacker Craig Carrington, who was also a member of Armwood’s football team in 2011. The cases of these three student-athletes were all based on a question of residency and the committee voted unanimously against Newton and Carrington and 6-1 against Nold.

The Tampa attorney who represented all four Armwood student-athletes, Peter Hobson, said he will consult the families who lost their case Monday to determine whether they wish to appeal to the FHSAA’s Executive Board, which meets next month. 

After transferring to Armwood early this year, Evans was ruled ineligible by Armwood principal Mike Ippolito because he believed Evans had not made a “full and complete move” into the school’s district. Evans’ mother and father have gone through a divorce and following serious health issues by his father, Aaron decided to move in with him to help with the rehabilitation process.

At the time of ruling Evans ineligible in May, Ippolito told the committee he was unsure if Evans had indeed moved to his father’s address. But at Monday’s hearing, both parents assured the committee, as well as Ippolito, their son was living with the father full-time and the family had never presented any false residency evidence. The committee then approved Evans’ eligibility by a vote of 6-1.

“We felt like from day one we’ve done nothing wrong,” Jim Evans said. “We knew we falsified nothing and I’ve lived there since I said I’ve lived there.”

The committee’s decision in Evans’ favor also affected the eligibility of his sister, Sydney, who also transferred to Armwood. She hopes to play sports at the school and with her brother now approved, she is also eligible.

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