WPIAL to hold hearings for 2 Aliquippa football transfers, approves 3 others

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 | 2:53 PM

A WPIAL hearing will decide the eligibility of two Aliquippa football players who transferred from rival Central Valley.

The WPIAL board granted eligibility to three players who transferred to Aliquippa from others schools, but voted Wednesday to hold hearings for sophomore Joseph Work and freshman Khalil Ellerbee, said WPIAL executive director Scott Seltzer. In transfer paperwork, Central Valley marked their moves as potentially motivated by athletics, Seltzer said.

Work, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound linebacker, had 63 tackles last season at Central Valley. Ellerbee is a 6-2, 240-pound lineman who also wrestles.

“We have no control over who comes and goes, those are family decisions and/or change in family circumstances,” Aliquippa football coach Mike Warfield said in a statement. “We have no control. We are dealing with the future of children. Aliquippa has not and would never contest any decision made that would cause a student to leave Aliquippa. We would and have wished them the very best and I would try and assist them in any way that I could.”

In regards to Central Valley contesting the transfers, Warfield added: “That’s shameful. CV gets kids all the time, check the records!!”

Central Valley principal Shawn McCreary said Aliquippa’s administration also indicated on the paperwork that one of the two transfers might be athletically motivated.

“We simply agreed with what he had to say,” McCreary said of Aliquippa’s principal.

“We’ve had kids come to our school, too, and we make sure 100% that students who transfer meet the resident requirement,” McCreary added. “That’s the first thing, before talking about playing any sports. At Central Valley, we do what’s best for the kids. We don’t do things shamefully, I can promise you that.”

Warfield said Aliquippa did not indicate athletic intent.

The Quips have received a handful of transfers in recent months, including some with college football offers. The latest was former Bishop Canevin sophomore Daiveon Taylor, a standout linebacker who announced Tuesday on social media that he’d enrolled at Aliquippa. Seltzer said the WPIAL had not yet received transfer paperwork for Taylor.

The WPIAL board largely bases its initial eligibility decisions on the information schools submit in transfer paperwork.

“We always have a concern anytime a kid transfers, that’s why we review them all,” Seltzer said. “But it’s really up to the sending schools whether they have any information or not. We’re not an investigatory body. We’ll ask questions and things of that nature, but parents still have the right to send their kids somewhere.”

Two freshmen who transferred from Central Catholic to Aliquippa, Sa’Nir Brooks and Larry Moon, were approved by the WPIAL to play football next season. Since the two transferred as ninth graders, the PIAA postseason rule does not apply, making them both fully eligible.

However, sophomore Ray Miller, who transferred from Seton LaSalle, was approved by the WPIAL only for regular-season competition. He is ineligible for the 2024 football playoffs, but Aliquippa can appeal and request a postseason waiver, Seltzer said. Miller also would sit out the track postseason this spring without a waiver.

Transfers have become a point of contention for Aliquippa. The PIAA is forcing the football team to play in a higher classification in part because the team added five transfers over the past two school years.

Aliquippa recently filed a lawsuit against the PIAA hoping to stop that promotion to Class 5A. Warfield and school administrators have insisted that transfers contributed little to the team’s recent on-field success.

However, some of the players who’ve arrived in Aliquippa more recently are highly talented.

Moon, a 5-11, 180-pound defensive back, has more than a dozen college offers, including Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia, along with Tennessee, South Carolina, Miami (Fla.) and others. MaxPreps.com named Moon a Freshman All-American last fall. Brooks, a 5-10, 190-pound running back and safety, lists offers from Akron and Miami (Ohio).

Taylor, a 6-2, 220-pound outside linebacker and defensive end, has Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia among his early offers. He earned first-team all-conference honors for defense last fall at Bishop Canevin.

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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