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Hearing on injunction delayed for Washington lineman Blystone

| Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 9:21 a.m.

The hearing to determine whether the preliminary injunction granted to Washington High School football player Zach Blystone will become permanent or whether it will be lifted has been postponed.

Originally scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, the hearing was supposed to be in front of Common Pleas Judge John F. DiSalle at the Washington County Courthouse.

In confirming the continuation, Blystone family attorney Joe Francis called it nothing more than a “scheduling error.”

“I think it was a scheduling error, to be honest. I don't think there was any crazy reasoning behind it,” Francis said. “The way it was explained to me, when they fit these in, they try to accommodate the parties and the attorneys as soon as possible and fit them on the calendar.

“I think it might have something to do with scheduling it originally on a date that they had other matters pending that they couldn't take off the calendar.”

Blystone, who transferred from Charleroi to Washington, had been ineligible all season after the WPIAL ruled — and the PIAA upheld — that Blystone's transfer was at least partially motivated by “athletic intent.”

Several appeals were unsuccessful.

Last week the Blystone family and Francis sought a court injunction and received it at 4 p.m. last Friday from DiSalle. Blystone played, but did not start, later that night during a 50-14 win at Brownsville, rotating at guard, tackle and along the defensive line.

No. 5 Washington hosts No. 3 Mt. Pleasant in a battle of 6-0 teams in the WPIAL Class AA Interstate Conference, and Blystone will remain eligible.

However, if the ruling ultimately goes against Blystone, the PIAA could strip Washington of any wins where Blystone played. Blystone's eligibility for next season could also be affected.

Francis did not know when the hearing will be rescheduled for, though he doesn't expect it to be delayed more than a couple days. The influence the delay has on the case appears minimal.

“I don't think, as far as my client is concerned, that it has any negative implications at all,” Francis said. “All it does is delay, however slight, the ultimate decision on whether the injunction's final, rather than the way it is right now, on a temporary basis.”

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib

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