Blystone family drops case seeking eligibility at Washington
By Jason Mackey
Published: Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, 4:36 p.m.
The battle over Zach Blystone's eligibility dates back to the summer.
It includes WPIAL and PIAA hearings and appeals.
The Washington School Board has gotten involved, backing and then halting Blystone's efforts to play for the football team, and the story even aired on the local news after Blystone and his attorney obtained an injunction.
Yet after more than 70 days, Blystone and his family dropped their case Monday roughly 24 hours before a hearing in front of Common Pleas Judge John F. DiSalle at the Washington County Courthouse.
“The injunction that we were able to obtain no longer served the purpose that we wanted it to serve,” Blystone family attorney Joe Francis said, explaining why the family dropped the case.
“When your own school is making statements that your case is no good, it puts a lot of pressure on this boy and his family. And that was getting to be too great.”
Though Zach Blystone is a 6-foot-3, 260-pound lineman, his family contends leaving Charleroi had nothing to do with sports.
Part of the Blystones' property was seized by PennDOT through eminent domain, which the Blystones said gave them the financial flexibility to move.
They also argued it was closer to Zach's father's job in Claysville and put Zach in a school that fit his learning needs.
Charleroi argued that Blystone left because of football, and the WPIAL and PIAA supported that through numerous hearings and appeals.
Part of the reason the Blystones failed to win the argument was a paper trail that Zach's mother, Corrina, left behind, one that demonstrated previous contact with Washington's coaches.
Corrina Blystone referred comment to Francis.
“It has been a long ordeal,” Charleroi athletic director Bill Wiltz said. “It's been going on now since July and has been tough on everyone.”
Wiltz said he feels sorry for the student who chose to leave Charleroi, saying the district never sought to punish the child, merely to uphold the spirit of the WPIAL and PIAA bylaws.
“For us, it was never about the kid,” Wiltz said. “It was about kids can't be allowed to just go to school wherever they want to. You are supposed to go to school where you live.”
Blystone played in a 50-14 win at Brownsville in Week 6. That game could end up as a forfeit for Washington (6-1, 6-1), though that's up to the WPIAL, PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said.
A one-game suspension could also be levied on Blystone in 2014.
Francis said he requested his client lose no more eligibility but had not received an answer from the PIAA by press time.
Staff writer Jeff Oliver contributed. Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Father-son funeral directors lead community
- Clairton Meals on Wheels puts new van in immediate service
- Keisel might be at end of Steelers career
- Penguins’ leads evaporate in loss to Sharks
- 2013 was a challenging year for Highlands Hospital
- Connellsville Ministerial Association kicks off Lenten luncheons
- City seeks to join regional enterprise zone
- New name, new energy for Connellsville fitness studio
- Perry Township over projected winter budget
- Uniontown man acquitted of rape charge
- Judge to Cook Township drug suspect: Get new friends