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PIAA returns wins to Washington, overturns WPIAL ruling

| Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, 3:00 p.m.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Quorteze Levy photographed at practice on August 8, 2013 in Washington.

Washington will be in the WPIAL football playoffs.

The PIAA on Thursday overturned a WPIAL ruling that had forced Washington to forfeit five wins for using an ineligible player, said PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi.

The WPIAL on Monday granted a hardship waiver to Washington senior Quorteze Levy, making him eligible for the rest of this school year. The WPIAL board believed it could not make the move retroactive, but the PIAA disagreed.

“In reviewing the bylaw, the (PIAA) board of appeal unanimously found that the language requires waivers to be for full semesters not partial ones,” Lombardi said.

The PIAA backdated Levy's eligibility waiver to the first day of school. As a result, the Prexies will not forfeit victories over Greensburg Central Catholic, Southmoreland, Charleroi, Yough and Jeannette. The punishment would have dropped Washington (6-2, 5-2) from second place to last in the Class AA Interstate Conference.

The team still must forfeit its Week 7 victory over Brownsville for a separate violation.

“We're relieved,” athletic director Joe Nicolella said, “and at the same time appreciative that the PIAA considered the merits of our case. We're also appreciative in the first place for the WPIAL even hearing our case and granting the eligibility to Quorteze Levy. We're just happy all the way around.”

The WPIAL held an eligibility hearing Monday for the Washington senior, who attended ninth grade in Kalamazoo, Mich., but repeated his freshman year at Washington after transferring. The PIAA limits athletes to four consecutive years of eligibility once they enter ninth grade. A Washington guidance counselor first noticed the violation last week and the school notified the WPIAL.

The PIAA decision clears Washington to enter the WPIAL Class AA playoffs with Levy eligible to play. Playoff pairings will be announced Monday.

“We're thankful for the decision,” football coach Mike Bosnic said. “(We're) somewhat relieved and excited to get to work.”

The Prexies conclude their regular season Friday night against Waynesburg.

The decision eliminated Southmoreland from postseason contention.

Mt. Pleasant (8-0) will win the Class AA Interstate Conference, and Washington (5-2) will be second. Greensburg Central Catholic (4-3), Jeannette (4-3) and Yough (4-3) are vying for the final two playoff berths.

Jason Mackey 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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