Ineligible Avonworth football player drops lawsuit against WPIAL, PIAA

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Thursday, November 21, 2019 | 11:58 AM


Attorneys for ineligible Avonworth football player Kyros Thorpe withdrew his lawsuit against the WPIAL and PIAA on Thursday, ending his legal battle to play in the WPIAL football championship.

Thorpe and his mother Anna Hollis had asked the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to issue a preliminary injunction that would’ve let him participate Saturday in the Class 2A final. A hearing was scheduled for Thursday afternoon but the lawsuit was discontinued a few hours earlier.

In a statement, Thorpe attorney Brian Kane said: “Ms. Hollis has made the difficult decision to withdraw the preliminary injunction filed this week against the WPIAL and PIAA. As set forth in the petition, the evidence is clear that Kyros should be eligible. However, the PIAA and WPIAL have made it clear that if Kyros plays Saturday, it would trigger continued litigation that would not only be a further financial burden on the family and quite likely the school district but could also negatively impact his teammates, the Avonworth community and the potential for his team to secure a championship.

“Kyros does not wish to detract from the efforts of his team now or in the future,” Kane added. “The family appreciates the support of the players, coaches, school officials and community this season, and remain disappointed in the aggressive, unconscionable position taken by the PIAA and WPIAL.”

Avonworth (13-0) plays Washington (13-0) in the WPIAL Class 2A championship Saturday.

The WPIAL and PIAA had warned that if Thorpe were to receive an injunction, play Saturday and later lose his court case, Avonworth would be forced to forfeit any postseason wins in which he participates — including the WPIAL championship.

Thorpe was eligible to play in the regular season but not in the playoffs under a PIAA postseason ban that targets all transfers after the start of 10th grade.

He transferred home from Central Catholic in July.

The PIAA rule — intended to discourage athletically motivated transfers — can be waived under certain circumstances, but both the WPIAL and PIAA boards voted that Thorpe didn’t qualify for a waiver.

“I’m extremely proud of my son’s character and positive attitude throughout this exasperating process,” Hollis said. “But until the PIAA and WPIAL have the best interest of student-athletes as central to their mission, families will continue to be dragged into senseless procedures that ultimately harm their children. At the end of the day, who really wins?”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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