WPIAL denies eligibility for 2
The WPIAL board of control denied waiver requests from Central Catholic's Riley Redman and Burrell's Zach Kelly on Wednesday, leaving both ineligible for their upcoming senior years.
Uniontown's Rodney Harris was granted his waiver request for attendance issues when the board held hearings in Green Tree, making him eligible. Harris was injured in a car crash, causing him to miss school.
Redman and Kelly can appeal to the PIAA. They were ruled ineligible for different reasons.
Redman, a football player and diver, turned 19 on June 26 — the cutoff is July 1 — making him ineligible under PIAA rules.
Kelly, a Bucknell-bound wrestler, has completed a combined four years of high school at Burrell and Kiski School but asked for a fifth year of eligibility.
Neither case met the waiver criteria described in PIAA rules, WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley said.
“If everybody (on the board) was driven by their heart instead of the rules, the outcome of any hearing would be different,” O'Malley said. “Those people are all human and all have feelings. But you have an inherent responsibility to apply the rules as they're written.”
Kelly attended Burrell as a freshman and won a WPIAL individual title before transferring to Kiski School, where he chose to repeat his freshman year. Now back at Burrell three years later, he wanted a fifth year of eligibility, in part because he missed last season with a shoulder injury. But the PIAA prohibits athletic redshirting when the repeated school year was voluntary.
Redman rushed for 1,192 yards and 16 touchdowns last season as a backup tailback for WPIAL Class AAAA champion Central Catholic. He also qualified for the WPIAL diving championships.
“If he had been born a week later, we wouldn't be here,” said attorney Craig Lee, noting Redman was born several weeks premature.
Redman brought with him school administrators, his football coach, his mother and guardian. They described a student who bounced between schools as a child and repeated third grade while he battled attention-deficit and anger issues.
He has grown much since, said Brother Robert Schaefer, principal at Central Catholic, where Redman has attended since ninth grade.
But his appeal did not satisfy the PIAA threshold for a waiver, the WPIAL board decided.