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Armwood may have to forfeit title over ineligible players

The Florida High School Athletics Association said in a report to Armwood principal Mike Ippolito that five Armwood players played last season were ineligible because they or their parents falsified information to allow the players to transfer to Armwood.

Three of the players, linebacker Keionne Baines, offensive guard John Lightsey and wide receiver Javonte Sneed, are seniors. The other two players named in the report, linebacker Craig Carrington and running back Greg Newton, are sophomores.

“With disregard to the rules, some parents are trying to get their children to go play football at Armwood,” FHSAA executive director Roger Dearing told the Tampa Tribune. “I don’t know why they’re doing it — maybe because they want to get their kids a scholarship — but according to our investigation, they’re doing it.”

The FHSAA’s tentative findings were sent to Armwood on Monday. The school has 10 business days to respond to the findings, said Hillsborough County Public Schools spokeswoman Linda Cobbe. After that, the FHSAA has 10 days to respond with any final sanctions or fines, Cobbe said.

At a press conference Monday, Hillsborough Schools superintendent Mary Ellen Elia that the jobs of Armwood principal Mike Ippolito and Armwood coach Sean Callahan were safe.

“Would I have them up here with me if I was going to fire them?” Elia said.

In addition, the report said that two Armwood staff members, who were not named in the report, participated in falsifiying information to assist the students in attending Armwood.

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