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Hillsborough school board to discuss athlete transfers

TBO.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 08:51 PM

Hillsborough County Schools Athletic Director Lanness Robinson said there are several options under consideration to control the flow of student athletes that are transferring from school to school.

The school board is scheduled to discuss the issue during a workshop today at the school board's headquarters in downtown Tampa.

Robinson said one possible measure would be to force the athletes to sit out one full year unless receiving approval from a review committee. The committee would be made up of a select number of high school principals, administrators and advisers — but no coaches.

Robinson said the recent investigation into Armwood High School's football program by the Florida High School Athletics Association, which claims the parents of five Hawks players falsified documents to gain entry to the school, is not the reason he and the district are trying to take action now.

But Robinson does hope the high-profile case becomes the catalyst to get something done about the transfer issue.

An attorney representing the parents of four current and two former ineligible Armwood football players earlier this month requested that principal Mike Ippolito file paperwork with the FHSAA to have their individual cases presented to a sectional appeals committee later this summer.

Four of the players planning to file an appeal through Ippolito were ruled ineligible by the FHSAA, which eventually resulted in the Hawks being stripped of their 2011 state crown and 26 victories from the past two seasons.

Not all coaches feel a set of rules are necessary. In fact, some argue transfer rules unfairly single out student athletes, not students who transfer for such reasons as trying to attend a school with, say, a better music or math program.

But many coaches in Hillsborough believe transfers have become far too easy for students looking for a better situation athletically.

"It (transferring) is so out of control, something has to be done," longtime Wharton football coach David Mitchell earlier this year. "It has to be a tough rule, something that makes them and their parents think twice before they transfer. And that's why it needs to be 365 days (of athletic ineligibility)."

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