Q: Why was the Armwood High football program reprimanded Tuesday by the Florida High School Athletic Association?
A: It was determined the Hawks used five players in 2011 and one in 2010 who falsified their residency to attend Armwood.
Q: What were the penalties?
A: Armwood was fined $12,743 and stripped of its 2011 Class 6A state championship and 2010 state runner-up crown. In addition, the school was placed on administrative probation for three years and given an official reprimand from the FHSAA.
Q: How did the FHSAA come up with that dollar figure?
A: $6,543 is for reimbursement of investigative costs. The other $6,200 is for allowing ineligible players to participate in interscholastic contests. The financial penalty for allowing ineligible players to participate in contests can be up to $2,500 a student per contest; this totals $195,000. However, because Armwood cooperated with the investigation, the financial penalty was $100 a student per contest.
Q: Who will pay the fines?
A: In Hillsborough County, the parents or guardians of each athlete sign a form specifically stating "any fines or penalties assessed against the school as a result of the actions of any student and/or parent will be the responsibility of the student and/or parent." If the parent refuses to pay the fines, the student's transcript and records can be withheld from the college they plan to attend.
Q: Can Armwood appeal the ruling?
A: It can, but since it did not rebut any of the evidence in the 19 violations presented by the FHSAA, it seems unlikely. However, the parents of the five players can appeal or file a lawsuit against the FHSAA with a private attorney. Tampa lawyer Peter Hobson has been retained by the parents of four of the five players named in the FHSAA report, as well as two recent transfers to Armwood who were declared ineligible by the school after an in-house investigation of dozens of new students to the school in 2012.
Q: How can schools prevent instances like this from happening?
A: The FHSAA has recommended several safeguards, including: