Washington Back in Football Playoffs After PIAA Overturns Forfeits

Thursday, October 24, 2013 | 4:41 PM

In again out again in again Washington. The case involving the Washington football team and the eligibility of one of its players is over. Washington wins and now the Little Prexies can start thinking playoffs once again.

On Thursday afternoon, the PIAA overturned a previous WPIAL ruling that ordered Washington to forfeit five wins for using a player who is in his fifth year of high school. Under PIAA and WPIAL rules, a student only gets four consecutive years to play sports when the student starts ninth grade. Regardless of whether the student doesn’t play sports for a year, he/she gets only four continuous years.

The ruling means Washington still has a 6-2 record and will be in the Class AA playoffs that begin next week. The ruling also means that Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette and Yough are still battling for playoff spots. If Washington had to forfeit games, GCC and Jeannette were automatically in the playoffs.

The PIAA made its ruling Thursday after a conference call hearing with Washington school officials.

“It was a unanimous vote to rescind the forfeitures,” said PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi.

The PIAA listened to the case of Quorteze Levy, a senior receiver-defensive back who is in his fifth year of high school. He spent his freshman year at a school in Michigan and did not participate in sports. He then transferred to Washington, repeated ninth grade and then stayed at the school for four years.

Washington turned itself in to the WPIAL last Friday after a guidance counselor discovered Levy was in his fifth year of high school. The WPIAL had a hearing Monday with Levy and Washington school officials. Washington asked the WPIAL for a hardship waiver that would grant Levy a fifth year of eligibility.

The WPIAL granted Levy a waiver. But the league said the waiver started only Monday. The league did not make the waiver retroactive to the start of the fall semester.

The WPIAL said when Levy played this season before Monday, he was ineligible. Under PIAA and WPIAL rules, a team must forfeit any games where an ineligible player is used.

Washington didn’t stop at the WPIAL level, though. The school appealed the case to the PIAA and the PIAA voted to make the hardship waiver retroactive to the beginning of this semester. So, Washington did not have to forfeit games.

The WPIAL actually made Washington forfeit six games. The other forfeit was for the case of Zach Blystone, who was ruled ineligible by the PIAA and WPIAL. The leagues claimed he transferred from Charleroi to Washington with athletic intent, which is against league rules. Blystone played in one game against Brownsville.

That forfeit still stands.


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