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PIAA notebook: Vincentian coach's appeal denied

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 9:18 p.m.

Vincentian Academy football coach Tim Storino had his WPIAL-issued suspension upheld by the PIAA at an appeals hearing Wednesday in Mechanicsburg.

But Storino, who was punished for recruiting grade school players, said he'd still like a better explanation about how exactly he broke the rules.

“I still have no idea what was wrong,” said Storino, whose one-season coaching ban was upheld with a 5-2 vote. “That's what we're so confused about. ... We're confused about what's a feeder school.”

The WPIAL ruled in January that Storino had violated recruiting rules when he visited with the North Pittsburgh Catholic Ironmen. The youth team draws students from several Catholic grade schools and not all of those schools appeared on the official feeder school list Vincentian submitted to the PIAA in 2006. But all are within close proximity to Vincentian's campus, Storino argued.

“We believe that he only went to feeder schools,” attorney Craig Lee said. “That's our position, but they appear to disagree with us. We want clarification of that.”

The issue could enter the courts system, Lee said, but that decision hasn't been made.

The PIAA considers Diocese-designated feeder schools to be part of a high school's district, allowing coaches to contact prospective students from those schools. But Lee said that approach has become antiquated because a student from any Pittsburgh-area Catholic grade school could attend any of the 11 Catholic high schools.

“The Pittsburgh Diocese, in my mind, doesn't believe in a feeder system any more,” Lee said.

Storino, head coach for one year, will continue to run offseason programs. The ban does not take effect until the first day of summer camp, he said. Vincentian went 1-8 in Class A during the program's inaugural season.

“We were losing games by an average of 45 points and we only had 18 players on the team — we're not a WPIAL champion or powerhouse,” Storino said. “I was not out to cheat; I was out to start a program. Not one kid have I ever individually recruited. I just wanted to spread awareness about the program.”

Contact limited

High school football teams in Pennsylvania are now prohibited by PIAA by-law from having more than three practice days of physical contact per calendar week in the regular season and postseason.

The by-law passed by a 28-1 vote Wednesday night by the PIAA board of directors during a meeting in Mechanicsburg.

“We received input from football coaches and others asking the board with everything going on with concussions and kids in their growing years, why aren't we limiting contact once the season starts?” PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said. “More contact is not better. This policy went through the three-reading protocol and was passed because it's a good thing for the health, welfare and safety of the student-athlete.”

Pennlive.com's Andy Shay contributed. Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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