CHANDLER, Ariz. — Hamilton High School will appeal the football team's probation and ban from the 2022 playoffs, which was handed down by the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) on Monday due to a recruiting violation by defensive coordinator Tim Dougherty.
Dougherty's recruiting violation comes from direct messages Dougherty sent on Twitter to a defensive lineman from Cesar Chavez High School. Screenshots of the messages were posted on Twitter by Cesar Chavez's Athletic Director Lenny Doerfler earlier this summer.
The AIA's Executive Board determined they were an attempt to recruit the player, which is a violation of the Association's bylaws.
Dougherty had already been suspended for 3 games before the probation was handed down by the AIA.
The Arizona Republic's Richard Obert is reporting that Dougherty has hired a lawyer, and will be fighting any disciplinary actions.
AIA Executive Director David Hines confirmed to 12Sports that as of now Hamilton's appeal hearing will be held on September 22, the day before the Huskies' Week 4 game against Horizon.
Hamilton Principal Michael De La Torre said in a letter to parents Wednesday that the appeal hearing "should occur on August 30th, with AIA Executive Board, (Hamilton High School) and (Chandler Unified School District) administration."
However, Hines told 12Sports in a text message that this is not the case yet.
"If the Board rules on a violation at a Board meeting, the school has ten days to notify the AIA office that they wish to appeal the decision. The appeal would be heard at the next scheduled Board Meeting, which is Sept. 22nd."
Hines added that a request can be made to the Executive Board President to have an emergency hearing, which in this case could be as early as August 30th, when the Board is scheduled to hear hardship appeals for transfer students.
12Sports also spoke with former Arizona Diamondback Junior Spivey, whose son, Tre, is a senior wide receiver for Hamilton. He says this week has been hard for the kids.
"It's unbelievable," Spivey said. "To have to go through this again, after what the kids went through last summer and what they had to deal with and to fight through it to battle through it to come together as a team to come together as a brotherhood, I thought they did a great job, fighting through what they went through last year. And now here we are again. It's unfortunate for the kids. And after hearing that they're put on probation, I was like, You got to be kidding me. It's not fair. It's not right."
Spivey said he also hopes the AIA reverses its decision.
"I'm not in a position to make any decisions, but I think it falls on the leadership and the people that are in charge, in the program and at the school," Spivey said. "We'll kind of see what happens, what comes out of it from there. Hopefully, hopefully, the right thing is done, and the kids will be playing in the playoffs."
Spivey said what is happening right now is not indicative of the current culture at Hamilton, which is much different from 2017 when the program got in trouble for hazing.
"It's family. And that's what it is. And it's brought everyone together. It's brought the kids together, brought families together," Spivey said. "We're like one big, strong community and things happen. As a community, you come together and you have each other's back and you fight for the kids. And that's what we're doing. We're fighting for the kids. And that's what this community is. And that's what it stands for."
And despite everything that has happened this week, Spivey said his son and his son's teammates are staying positive.
"They believe that it's gonna get overturned, and they'll be reinstated to play in the playoffs," Spivey said. "I think that's what the kids are believing that's what we're believing as parents. I think that that punishment is a little too harsh for this situation. So hopefully, hopefully, they'll see it the way we see it."
Hamilton will open their season on September 2 at home against Centennial.