Imani Christian transfers eligible for basketball season after PIAA overturns WPIAL decisions

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Monday, November 28, 2022 | 7:15 PM


Imani Christian transfers Robert Sledge and Kylan Holmes are now eligible to play basketball this winter after the PIAA overturned earlier decisions by the WPIAL.

The two had appeal hearings Monday.

“They were so excited and I understand why,” Imani Christian athletic director Cliff Simon said. “Both had legitimate reason to come to Imani Christian. It wasn’t all about sports.”

The WPIAL board had ruled them ineligible Nov. 8, saying their transfers were motivated by athletics.

Sledge, a sophomore transfer from Bishop Canevin, is fully eligible for the regular season and postseason. Holmes, a junior who came from First Live Christian Academy, can compete in the regular season but not the postseason.

PIAA rules make all transfers after the start of 10th grade ineligible for the postseason for one year.

Imani Christian is one of the WPIAL’s smallest schools but its basketball program has a big profile. Alier Maluk, a 6-foot-10 sophomore with Pitt and West Virginia among his Division I offers, helped the Saints reach the WPIAL Class A semifinals and state quarterfinals last season.

Simon said athletics is not the reason Imani Christian exists.

“We have a school here at Imani Christian Academy and that’s what comes first to us, the school,” he said. “We’re not trying to be a ‘transfer university’ or anything of that nature. We’re trying to provide an opportunity for kids to get an education.”

Imani Christian, which opened in Pittsburgh’s East Hills neighborhood in 1993, has played WPIAL boys basketball since the 2012-13 season. The school listed 29 boys in grades 9-11 in the most-recent PIAA enrollment numbers, making it the second-smallest WPIAL school to play boys basketball.

Only WPIAL newcomer Hillel Academy with 27 boys has fewer.

A third transfer joining Imani Christian’s basketball team, sophomore Damon Givner, already was approved by the WPIAL earlier this month. Givner transferred from Obama Academy.

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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