Leechburg, Winchester Thurston violate rules
Leechburg athletic director Mark Jones said he made a mistake by scheduling St. Gertrude's to play in Leechburg's basketball tip-off tournament.
By playing St. Gertrude's, boys teams from Leechburg and Winchester Thurston violated WPIAL and PIAA rules that prohibit teams from playing opponents that are not “sponsored and controlled by a public or private school or any not belonging to the PIAA.” The teams were in violation of PIAA By-Law Article XII, relating to “athletic relations.”
St. Gertrude's, from Vandergrift, is a CYO team and doesn't have a school.
“It was my oversight, and I take the blame,” Jones said. “I was aware of the rule, but I didn't catch it quick enough. It's embarrassing, but there is nothing we can do now. We have to own up to it and move on.”
Leechburg forfeited its win. The WPIAL will have a board review of the situation next week and likely will impose sanctions against both programs.
Leechburg beat St. Gertrude's, 53-51, and Winchester Thurston won, 43-41.
St. Gertrude's became involved after Saltsburg dropped out of the tournament over the summer, leaving the host Blue Devils searching for a replacement.
Deer Lakes seemed like a possibility, but a coaching change occurred there and so did the Lancers' tip-off tournament plans.
“There was no intention on our part to gain anything,” Leechburg coach Damian Davies said. “... It was an innocent mistake, and we feel bad about it.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or firstname.lastname@example.org.