PIAA overturns suspension levied against Central Catholic coach Brian Urso

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019 | 5:08 PM


The PIAA overturned a WPIAL decision and lifted the suspension given to Central Catholic boys basketball coach Brian Urso.

While investigating recruiting allegations, the WPIAL board in June ordered Central Catholic to suspend the first-year coach for one scrimmage and two regular-season games for contacting eighth-grade athletes. But Central Catholic’s administration successfully argued Tuesday that those students already were taking steps to enroll at the high school, PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said.

“Central Catholic brought into the appeal hearing verification that the students that they contacted all had made some type of payment for enrollment into the school,” Lombardi said. “They explained away that those kids were enrolled and therefore their students.”

The PIAA heard Central Catholic’s appeal Tuesday in Mechanicsburg.

Urso and Central Catholic athletic director Rick Capretta did not immediately return messages. School principal Brother Anthony Baginski declined comment until after he received written confirmation from the PIAA.

The WPIAL in June was concerned with those interactions that Urso had with eighth-grade students, both through open gyms and emails sent to them. Catholic school coaches are only allowed to contact students at middle schools designated as “feeder schools,” but the WPIAL board noted then that the Pittsburgh Diocese had not submitted an updated feeder school list.

Urso, a former Robert Morris assistant, was hired in April.

In a separate hearing, the PIAA upheld the one-year suspension the WPIAL placed on McKeesport girls basketball assistant Troy Blackwell. Blackwell had sent a social media message to a girls basketball player at a charter school encouraging her to come back and play for the Tigers.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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