WPIAL wants 2 football coaches suspended for violating heat acclimatization rules

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 | 8:58 AM

The WPIAL wants two football coaches suspended for a scrimmage next season for violating preseason heat acclimatization rules.

Franklin Regional coach Greg Botta and Aliquippa’s Mike Warfield violated PIAA rules when their teams worked out in full equipment in early August, WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said.

The only equipment players can wear during the five-day, noncontact period is helmet and shoulder pads.

“The board was strongly of the opinion that that jeopardizes the health and safety of the kids by letting them be fully padded,” O’Malley said. “They felt that the guidelines were well publicized. It was something (the teams) should have been very much aware of. The fact that they weren’t, the responsibility falls to the head coach.”

The WPIAL cannot suspend coaches but can demand schools suspend them. If the schools do not comply, then the teams would be barred from postseason participation, O’Malley said.

Both coaches must sit out the first scrimmage. Additionally, both football programs were placed on probation for one year and the schools’ athletic administrations were censured, O’Malley said.

“Just like I teach our kids, you accept it and move on,” Warfield said.

Botta declined comment. Franklin Regional still is deciding whether to appeal.

Both schools must provide a written explanation and action plan to avoid repeating this violation.

According to PIAA rules: “Helmets and shoulder pads with shorts are permitted the first 5 days of heat acclimatization. Full gear and contact may not be worn until Monday, August 12th after the completion of the five consecutive day heat acclimatization period.”

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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