Hamilton Schools, state officials continue review of player ineligibility that led to AD resignation

Hamilton Schools officials say they are still working with the Ohio High School Athletic Association in reviewing the case of an ineligible boys basketball player. Last month the schools announced the resignation of Athletic Director Bill Stewart after state prep sports officials notified the school district of possible violations of transfer eligibility. (File Photo\Journal-News)
Hamilton Schools officials say they are still working with the Ohio High School Athletic Association in reviewing the case of an ineligible boys basketball player. Last month the schools announced the resignation of Athletic Director Bill Stewart after state prep sports officials notified the school district of possible violations of transfer eligibility. (File Photo\Journal-News)

The Hamilton High School boys basketball team is scheduled to play its last regular season game tonight and it also may mark the end of an incident that saw a player declared ineligible and the resignation of an athletic director.

Later this week, interviews will begin for a new athletic director, Hamilton School officials told the Journal-News.

Last month saw the resignation of former Athletic Director Bill Stewart after it was revealed the high school had violated Ohio’s student transfer eligibility rules.

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The discovery and subsequent school district investigation prompted the Ohio High School Athletic Association to order the Hamilton boys’ team to forfeit all of its wins season up to that point.

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Mike Holbrook, superintendent of Hamilton Schools, said that “the district continues to work closely with the Ohio High School Athletic Association regarding the student-athlete transfer rule.”

“The district is working with the OHSAA regarding the length of the suspension for the student-athlete in question. A final ruling has yet to be made by the OHSAA,” he said.

Stewart, a veteran area athletic director who held similar positions with Fairfield and Lebanon Schools before being hired by Hamilton Schools last spring, resigned Jan. 21 shortly after the district announced its investigation in conjunction with the OHSAA.

“During the investigation, it was discovered the Hamilton High School Athletic Department and Hamilton High School Athletic Director violated the procedure required by the OHSAA regarding the district residency of a student-athlete,” the district said in a Jan. 21 statement.

The Hamilton team was then ordered by the OHSAA to forfeit all wins up to that point in the season.

A review of Stewart’s personnel records through public records requests submitted by the Journal-News to Hamilton, Lebanon and Fairfield schools, showed no previous records of any similar student eligibility violations with those school systems.

Stewart’s work evaluations at all three districts were almost uniformly exemplary, the review showed.

Hamilton’s overall record is now 4-14 with a Greater Miami Conference record of 2-10.

The team’s final regular season game is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. today at Fairfield High School.

Hamilton is scheduled to open its postseason by playing the winner of the Edgewood/Princeton game at 8 p.m. on Feb. 23 at Fairfield High School.

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