A local attorney representing the families of seven Armwood football players said Friday he expects some of those families to appeal penalties likely to be imposed on the Hawks' 2011 state championship team.
Armwood has until Tuesday to respond to the Florida High School Athletic Association's six-month investigation that found five players guilty of — among other things — falsifying residence information to gain eligibility. Five other players who moved into Armwood's district since the start of the calendar year currently are ineligible.
Peter J. Hobson, a general practitioner who has represented several prominent professional athletes including Dwight Gooden, Warren Sapp and Ray Lewis, said the FHSAA's probe denied his clients "a meaningful opportunity to be heard."
"I anticipate a number of these students filing an appeal, yes," Hobson said.
That process would come after the FHSAA receives the formal response to its 45-page investigative findings from Armwood. FHSAA executive director Roger Dearing said Friday afternoon the school has not requested extra time to file its response.
The FHSAA then has 10 business days to issue its final sanctions. From there, Armwood has 10 more business days to appeal, which is where Hobson said he and his clients come in.
"Sometimes if an investigator asks you a question and you provide and answer, that is not in my opinion participating in the process," Hobson said.
Retired Washington D.C., detective Troy Pumphrey conducted the investigation, including his interviews with several of the players and parents in his report.
Hobson contends the report should have been made available to family members, who then should have had a chance to formulate a response, present evidence they weren't asked about by Pumphrey, and perhaps even "cross-examine the investigator."
"That," Hobson said, "would be a meaningful opportunity to be heard."