GREEN TREE – Washington High School’s football team could be assessed more sanctions by the WPIAL after it was discovered last week that an ineligible player was used during the season.
The decision will be announced this morning by WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley. The school presented its case to the WPIAL Board of Control Monday afternoon at the district offices in Green Tree. The meeting was closed to reporters.
That presentation came after the WPIAL board forced Wash High to forfeit an Oct. 4 game against Brownsville for using another player, Zach Blystone, who was deemed ineligible.
Washington athletic director Joe Nicolella said Quorteze Levy, a wide receiver who appeared in the first seven games of the season, repeated ninth grade after transferring to Washington High School from Michigan.
This would be Levy’s ninth semester of varsity participation, one more than permitted by the PIAA. Washington might be forced to forfeit its victories Levy played in this season.
“He exceeded the eight-semester limit,” said Nicolella. “It was my job (to make sure), and I didn’t catch it.”
The WPIAL is considering whether to grant Levy a hardship waiver, which would make his eligibility retroactive. Levy has to meet certain guidelines in accordance with the WPIAL by-laws.
“That’s something we’re trying to (find out from our counsel),” O’Malley said. “If there is a finding of eligibility, eligibility is back to the date of transfer, not the date of (its) finding. It used to be to the day of finding. That was amended five years ago, when Central Valley used an ineligible track athlete. They submitted a request, and we said, ‘OK, he’s eligible, but the meets he participated in before it was submitted, he’s ineligible. They petitioned the PIAA and the PIAA amended the by-laws. … We’ll listen to what they say in (the meeting). It might be moot. I don’t know.”
If the board does not find in favor of Levy, Washington would forfeit victories over Greensburg Central Catholic, Southmoreland, Charleroi, Yough and Jeannette.
Nicolella said the error was discovered Friday, and it was reported to the WPIAL. Levy was kept out of Friday night’s victory over Freeport. Wash High has a 6-2 overall record and 5-2 mark in the Class AA Interstate Conference after the forfeit to Brownsville.
A group representing Wash High attended the WPIAL board meeting, including Nicolella; principal Frank Rotunda; Washington School Board director Marsha Pleta; guidance counselor Marie Montecalvo; Mel Blount, whose son, Khalid, is on the team; Levy and family members; and football coach Mike Bosnic.
“I feel good about it. I think Quorteze and his family and our school district really made a strong case to restore his eligibility,” said Bosnic. “It would mean everything to him. It’s really going to have a huge impact. He’s had some tough circumstances, and this could really change his life. He’s a really good kid.”
If the board does not grant the waiver, Washington would no longer be a playoff team from the Class AA Interstate Conference. Forfeits are normally considered a 1-0 victory for the opposing team, and 10 Gardner Points would be awarded.
Bosnic said he spoke with the team before leaving practice for the board meeting.
“I don’t think they know what to think,” he said. “It’s an issue that had to be talked about, because there was such a buzz around the town and in the school district. Everyone was talking about it in school today. It was something the kids took very seriously and are concerned about. I think they were surprised, sad and uncertain.
“I never had something like this happen before. I can assure you it will never happen again.”
Almost lost in this matter was the action the board took on the Blystone situation. Blystone was declared ineligible by the WPIAL and PIAA after transferring from Charleroi in August. The Blystone family received a preliminary injunction in court to make their son eligible but asked it to be vacated after the school board decided not to permit him to play. Blystone appeared in one game, an Oct. 4 win over Brownsville. That game was forfeited.