Gateway transfer Diego Bledsoe remains ineligible over father’s critical comments
Tuesday, July 30, 2019 | 9:52 PM
The PIAA listened to critical public comments made by Diego Bledsoe’s father and then upheld a WPIAL decision that leaves the Gateway transfer ineligible to play football.
Bledsoe, a rising junior who transferred from Steel Valley, had a PIAA hearing Tuesday in Mechanicsburg. The WPIAL had ruled Bledsoe ineligible June 20 after Steel Valley administrators shared a recording of his father Robert criticizing newly hired coach Ray Braszo at a February school board meeting.
In the recording, Robert Bledsoe said Steel Valley players “don’t want to play for this guy.”
The Bledsoes later moved into Gateway’s district, and Steel Valley contested the transfer as athletically motivated.
“I’m devastated because my son is so innocent in this,” Robert Bledsoe said Tuesday. “I’m just really devastated because he did nothing wrong. If they want to punish me, punish me. I won’t go to any of his games all year. I’ll stand outside.”
Diego Bledsoe is ineligible in football for one year from his transfer.
Robert Bledsoe testified in June to the WPIAL and again Tuesday to the PIAA that he was forced to move because of an eviction. He chose to move closer to his work in Monroeville.
Ultimately, the recorded comments swayed the PIAA hearing panel, said PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi.
“(Gateway administrators and the Bledsoes) didn’t explain away the commentary in front of the (school) board,” Lombardi said. “It was pretty clear on the tape that he made those statements. The explanation that he gave for the move didn’t outweigh that testimony in front of the board.”
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .