WPIAL rules that Ellwood City transfer is ineligible at Lincoln Park

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Nick Aloi didn’t play basketball this season because of a knee injury. The WPIAL has said Aloi can’t play next season, either, because he allegedly transferred schools for athletic reasons.

Aloi, a talented player who averaged 15 points a game as a freshman in the 2012-13 season, transferred on Jan. 21 from Ellwood City High School to Lincoln Park, a charter school in Beaver County that has become a basketball power. The WPIAL Board of Control had a hearing Wednesday with Aloi, his parents and administrators and coaches from both schools.

The WPIAL then voted, 16-0, to make Aloi ineligible for one year from the date of the hearing. Transferring for athletic reasons is against WPIAL and PIAA rules.

The hearing was in Green Tree at the Doubletree Hotel where only a few hours earlier PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi had his annual meeting with WPIAL athletic directors to inform them of any changes in PIAA bylaws and to address any concerns from member schools. Lombardi spent a good portion of his time explaining how schools across the state are complaining about the success charter schools are having in basketball. Lincoln Park won the PIAA Class A title this season and two of the team’s top players were transfers in the past few years.

Lombardi told the athletic directors that the PIAA plans to address the charter schools issue and he even met with state legislators about it. As for Aloi, he can appeal his case to the PIAA next month.

The hearing with the WPIAL was closed to the media at Ellwood City’s request. Aloi’s parents, Frank and Maura Aloi, declined comment. Ellwood City was 7-37 the past two seasons, but Craig Lee, attorney for the Alois, said the family contends the transfer was only to better prepare their son academically to become a doctor like his parents.

Lincoln Park is a charter school for performing arts. The school has a “health sciences and the arts” department and the director of the department is Mike Bariski, Lincoln Park’s athletic director and assistant basketball coach.

Lee said Nick Aloi can take college-level classes at Lincoln Park that aren’t available at Ellwood City, but Ellwood City principal Kirk Lape said he gave a presentation at Wednesday’s hearing showing plenty of advanced placement classes that are available at Ellwood City. The presentation also showed that 30 to 40 Ellwood City graduates are now doctors or in the medical field.

WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said the league did not believe Lincoln Park recruited Aloi, but thought he went there at least partly for basketball reasons.

“Ellwood City thought the issues for the transfer were related to basketball and they documented those,” O’Malley said. “They spent a great deal of time at the hearing pointing out their academics and their ability to prepare kids for college and they did an excellent job of that. In doing so, they turned the issue back to basketball.”

Luther to Elon

Hampton basketball player Collin Luther will get an NCAA Division I scholarship after all. Luther, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward, was offered a scholarship by Elon University (N.C.) Wednesday night and he accepted.

Luther and his twin brother, Ryan, had some Division I scholarship offers, but when Ryan signed with Pitt in the fall, the few offers Collin had disappeared. Elon started recruiting Collin recently. He visited the school last summer.

For more on high school sports, go to “Varsity Blog” at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog. Mike White: mwhite@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh.

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