All Deer Valley High School sports teams put on probation

Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Students and parents at Deer Valley High School are outraged after all athletes in the school have been put on probation for this school year, but the problem stems from football.

It seems that a possible "fumble" at Deer Valley High School is under investigation, but the slip-up wasn't on the field. It was in the front office.

As of this week, none of Deer Valley's sports teams are allowed to play in postseason matchups -- probation imposed by the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

"Most people, they had nothing to do with this," student Spencer Stein said. "How can the whole school be punished for something they had nothing to do with?"

Arizona Interscholastic Association Associate Director Chuck Schmidt said it started when two coaches came to work for Deer Valley High from Centennial High School. Then, two football players from Centennial also joined Deer Valley.

Schmidt said the rules forbid those students from playing for a year for recruitment reasons, but that Deer Valley's principal, among others, ignored the board's findings that they were ineligible and allowed them to play anyway. Centennial then alleged recruitment.

"We were unable to determine, if ever, a school administration had knowingly and willfully disregarded the rules that they've created," Schmidt said. "In that case, there was a lack of institutional control. That's why the whole school was brought out."

The district disregarded 3TV's multiple requests for an interview Wednesday, representatives saying they "need to focus on the school day."

Instead, they gave us a written statement saying they'll investigate then take appropriate action.

"The penalty doesn't hurt the coaches or the person that filled out the paperwork," said Mike Palomino, father of the team's quarterback. His son was not one of the two players deemed ineligible.

"All they're doing is hurting the players and that's not right," Palomino continued.

Those two students have been cleared to play since last taking the field, however, the AIA said that doesn't override what initially happened.

Deer Valley is expected to appeal the AIA's sanctions. Until then, all regular season sports will continue.