WPIAL sees wave of transfers ahead of PIAA deadline

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 | 2:09 AM

The WPIAL office faced a wave of paperwork in recent days as transfers hurried to avoid a new PIAA rule that would force them to sit out the postseason.

The deadline was Monday.

“Typically, we have an abundance of transfers at this time of the year on a fairly routine basis,” WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said. “But this year there was a bunch getting in before the sixth (of August).”

The WPIAL approved more than 60 transfers at Tuesday’s board of directors meeting. Among those approved were Khori Ramseur-Fusco, an 18-point scorer for Clairton basketball who transferred to Mars, and OLSH’s Donovan Johnson, a 19-point scorer now at Moon.

As long as the transfer paperwork was initiated before Monday, transfers are not subject to the postseason ban, O’Malley said.

Those transferring after Monday will be ineligible to compete in the playoffs for one year under the PIAA rule, unless they qualify for a hardship waiver.

However, those waivers could be tough to get.

According to O’Malley, if the new rule had been in place all summer, only 10 percent of the transfers already processed would’ve qualified for a hardship waiver.

“The vast majority of them would be postseason ineligible,” O’Malley said. “As of August 7, we’ve considered 111 eligibility requests (since June 1). And if that rule had been in effect, I would venture 100 of them would not meet the postseason criteria.”

The hardship waiver says a district committee “may waive this period of ineligibility upon demonstration by the student that the transfer was necessitated by exceptional and unusual circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the student’s family.”

The reasons deemed sufficient are:

A change of residence necessitated by a change in employment.

A school-initiated administrative transfer within a school district.

A court-ordered transfer.

A change of schools caused by a military reassignment of a parent.

A change of schools caused by release from a juvenile facility.

A demonstrable change in income or other financial resources that compels withdrawal from a private school.

The PIAA rule also states that a transfer for “academic, developmental, spiritual and/or social reasons” does not meet the hardship waiver standard. Nor does “a change of residence resulting from a family separation, unless court approved.”

But district committees are allowed to consider each transfer’s reason “on a case-by-case basis,” which could lead to uneven application across the state, O’Malley said.

Eligibility hearings

The WPIAL held two eligibility hearings Tuesday. The board ruled OLSH’s Justin Walsh eligible but denied eligibility to Seton LaSalle’s Gina Mastele.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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