High School notebook: Central Catholic RB loses eligibility appeal

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Riley Redman rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season as a junior at Central Catholic High School, but will not be able to play as a senior because he is too old.

Redman had hoped to get a waiver to the PIAA age rule that would let him play this season, but the PIAA Board of Appeals voted, 5-0, Tuesday to deny Redman’s request after a hearing with Redman and Central Catholic officials. The WPIAL also had ruled a few weeks ago that it would not grant Redman a waiver to the age rule, but Redman appealed his case to the PIAA.

Redman turned 19 June 26. Under PIAA rules, an athlete is ineligible to play if they turn 19 before July 1 of their senior year.

The WPIAL and PIAA can grant a waiver to the age rule, but it is rare. A waiver can be granted if an athlete has extenuating circumstances such as a physical, emotional or mental disability that has had a direct impact on the student’s physical athletic ability. Riley, 5 feet 10, 190 pounds, ran for 1,136 yards last year for a Central Catholic team that won the WPIAL Class AAAA title.

Redman and Central Catholic had contended that Redman should be granted a waiver because he was born eight weeks premature. If he would have been born on his due date, he would be eligible. Redman also asked for the waiver because he endured a rough childhood, being shuffled off to a number of foster homes, and repeated third grade.

“Unfortunately, he doesn’t meet the standards to grant such a waiver,” said PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi. “He is 19 before July 1, which is one of the most liberal eligibility dates in the country, compared to other state associations.”

WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said: “Nobody on our board wanted to see Riley Redman lose a year of eligibility. He is well-spoken and seems like a fine young man. But the reality is our board was elected to enforce the rules. That age rule is in place for the right reasons. If you were the parent of a 15-year-old player, how would you feel if he were playing against a 19-year-old who didn’t meet the rules?

“There are six criteria in the bylaws that have to all be met to give a waiver. He didn’t fit any of them. … Minus Riley Redman and the emotions, the rule had to be enforced. If you apply subjectivity, then you could maybe give him some room. But those who understand the objectivity of the rule, understand that a waiver could not be granted.”

Root goes to Fridays

Root Sports will televise WPIAL football games again this season, but will do so on Fridays, not Thursdays.

Since 2005, the cable station had been televising Thursday night games, but scrapped the idea this season. Root Sports did this one other time, televising 2011 regular-season games mostly on Friday nights but returned to Thursdays in 2012. But, unlike past years when Root Sports picked what games to televise before the season, Root Sports will use “flex scheduling,” meaning the station will decide a week ahead of time what game it will show. The exception will be Sept. 5, when Pine-Richland vs. North Allegheny will be aired.

Root Sports will televise seven regular-season games and three playoff games this year and the majority will be live, with only a few on tape after Pirates and Penguins games. Root Sports also will televise the four WPIAL title games Nov. 21 at Heinz Field. But the Penguins have a Nov. 21 game, which likely means two of the four championship games will be on tape.

Football recruiting

• Woodland Hills will have a backfield with two Division I college running backs. Senior Art Thompkins announced on Twitter Tuesday that he has made a verbal commitment to the University of Toledo. A few weeks ago, junior running back Miles Sanders committed to Penn State. Sanders is ranked among the top 100 junior players in the country by Rivals.com.

• Pine-Richland running back Connor Slomka said he will play football next season at West Point (Army). Slomka also is a standout in lacrosse and had originally made a verbal commitment to Ohio State for lacrosse.

• Pine-Richland quarterback Ben DiNucci also announced on Twitter that he has committed to Penn of the Ivy League.

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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