Deer Valley principal, athletic director file lawsuit against AI - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Deer Valley principal, athletic director file lawsuit against AIA


Two top administrators at Deer Valley High School are filing a lawsuit against the Arizona Interscholastic Association and members of Deer Valley High School over their jobs.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association had placed Deer Valley High School's entire athletic department on probation for playing two ineligible students during the first varsity football game of the season.

AIA said based on the information the board received, it was principal Barbara Dobbs and athletic director and assistant principal John Allen who allowed the ineligible student athletes to play.

"Based on the information the board received, in the last meeting on Monday, it was the principal and the athletic director who made the decision to say to the coach, 'Go ahead and play these kids,'" AIA Associate Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Chuck Schmidt said in the fall.

Dobbs and Allen claim it was Centennial school that filed false reports leading Deer Valley High School to play two ineligible students.

On Dec. 9, Dobbs and Allen filed a suit against AIA, its executive director Harold Slemmer, associate executive director Charles Schmidt, as well as Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD), DVUSD's superintendent Dr. James Veitenheimer, DVUSD athletic director Bill Gahn, DVUSD's governing board, Peoria Unified School District (PUSD), PUSD's governing board, Centennial High School athletic director Erik Stone, PUSD athletic director Mike Sivertson, and Centennial football coach Dick Taylor.

The lawsuit claims at the end of May 2013, three students from Centennial High School in PUSD made the decision to move into the DVUSD and Deer Valley High School zone. All three had played football for Centennial.  

Dobbs and Allen alleged that AIA abetted the misconduct of agents of PUSD in violating the rights of two African-American student athletes who were subjected to different scrutiny than a Caucasian student also transferring from Centennial.

The lawsuit claims when Centennial's football coach filed the AIA forms, it showed he believed the African American students had transferred to DVSH for athletic reasons and that they had been recruited, an offense which would disqualify them from playing for DVHS.

Allen said he checked the families records to confirm they had truly moved to the DVHS school zone, held meetings with all three families and determined they all met requirements for eligibility based on the AIA rules, according to Allen.

Allen and Dobbs said by mid-July they did not believe there was any question of eligibility and the athletes were never told they were ineligible.

Gahn, a former AIA executive board member was the DVUSD Athletic Director, according to Dobbs and Allen, told them to file hardship appeals on behalf of the athletes, despite objects by Dobbs and Allen.

On Aug. 14, Dobbs and Allen said AIA staff member David Hines told them if DVHS released two of their coach, DVHS would be in compliance.

On Aug. 16, DVHS fired the two coaches.

Allen and Dobbs claim they didn't know ineligibility was still in question and the students athletes played.

The AIA banned all Deer Valley High School teams from tournament play and the AIA told the Deer Valley Unified School District that it could make things right by showing, during the appeal process, it's "taking corrective action."

The district decided not to renew contracts for Dobbs or Allen.

Stay with and CBS 5 News for updates on the lawsuit.

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