Facing the possibility that their football team might have to forfeit games, Washington school administrators did not allow Zach Blystone to play Friday night after all.
The Washington school board had a meeting Friday afternoon and voted to support Washington High School principal Frank Rotunda's decision to not allow Blystone to play until his case is cleared up in court. The school board's decision came four days after it voted to support the decision of Washington coach Mike Bosnic to play Blystone last week and also in a showdown Friday night against Mount Pleasant.
Blystone, a talented, 6-foot-3, 260-pound junior lineman, transferred from Charleroi to Washington before the school year and was ruled ineligible by the WPIAL and PIAA. He then took his case to court.
"The school board's motion [Friday] was based on new information they found out since Monday," Washington athletic director Joe Nicolella said. "Maybe they didn't have a full picture [Monday]. Since then, they maybe got the full ramifications of everything and decided to call a special meeting."
Blystone was ruled ineligible by the WPIAL and PIAA for transferring for athletic intent, which is against league rules. Both organizations ruled him ineligible twice after a hearing and appeal hearings.
But Blystone and his family took his case to court and, Oct. 4, Washington County Court of Common Pleas Judge John F. DiSalle issued a preliminary injunction, allowing Blystone to play against Brownsville.
DiSalle will have another hearing Tuesday to decide whether the injunction will become permanent.
If he rules against Blystone, the PIAA will make Washington forfeit the game against Brownsville for using an ineligible player.
Even if the ruling favors Blystone, the PIAA will appeal to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania and the case will be heard in the future.
If the state court rules in favor of the PIAA, the PIAA would rule Washington would have to forfeit the Brownsville game and any others Blystone participated in because he was ineligible. Bosnic had planned to start Blystone against Mount Pleasant.
For more on high school sports, go to Varsity Blog at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog. Mike White: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh. First Published October 11, 2013 1:16 PM