AIA to decide future of 2013 Deer Valley HS football

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Arizona Interscholastic Association will meet Monday to determine the postseason fate of Deer Valley High School’s football team, as well as punishments for two administrators embroiled in controversy.

In September, the AIA put all of the school’s athletes on probation after two ineligible varsity football players took the field for the Skyhawks’ season opener. Those teens have since been cleared to play.

Allegations of recruitment are at the heart of the situation.

AIA 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, both juniors, 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.

Parents argued that the players transferred for hardship reasons, not recruitment. The AIA later agreed and gave the boys the green light to play, but that did not change the fact that they were not supposed to have played in the first game of the season,

"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 school appealed the AIA’s decision to punish all of Deer Valley’s athletes.

Earlier this month, the AIA voted to revise its ban, allowing other sports teams to take part in their respective postseasons. The Deer Valley football team, however, remains on probation.

The Deer Valley principal, Barbara Dobbs, and the athletic director/assistant principal, John Allen, are facing sanctions, including possibly administrative leave, in connection with the situation.

The AIA executive board is expected to discussion all of this and make some decisions during its Monday meeting.