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Second WPIAL hearing sought in Minnie transfer

| Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Elijah Minnie's high school basketball career might not be over after all.

Lincoln Park, the performing arts charter school in Midland where Minnie had transferred to earlier in the summer, has asked the WPIAL to grant a second hearing on the 6-9 Minnie's eligibility for the season.

The WPIAL held a hearing in October on the transfer and found Minnie ineligible. In an appeal to the PIAA last month, the ruling was upheld.

However, Lincoln Park petitioned the WPIAL for a second hearing so it can provide “new evidence” in the case.

WPIAL Executive Director Tim O'Malley acknowledged the filing by Lincoln Park and said the WPIAL executive board will meet in a private session and see if a second hearing is warranted.

“We received the paperwork and the executive committee will get together Monday in executive session and go over what Lincoln Park submitted,” O'Malley said. “The committee will then decide if a second hearing should be held.”

O'Malley said that second hearing had not been a policy until a couple years ago when the eligibility case of Brian Harper came to light.

Harper transferred from McKeesport to Serra Catholic and his transfer was denied. The next year, he transferred back to McKeesport and again his eligibility was denied.

The PIAA then told the WPIAL to consider a second hearing on the basis of new evidence.

A year later, the WPIAL granted a second hearing to another athlete after it was requested.

“This is all kind of new to us,” O'Malley said.

The WPIAL was unanimous in its ruling against the transfer the first time around and when O'Malley was asked what kind of new evidence could get the WPIAL to change its mind on the transfer, he laughed.

“We will have to see what the executive committee decides first on Monday,” he said.

O'Malley said that if the WPIAL does not grant the request for a second hearing, then Lincoln Park and Minnie would have no other options. He added that if the WPIAL holds the hearing and again finds the athlete ineligible, Minnie would then again have the option to appeal to the PIAA for a second hearing.

“I talked to (the PIAA) and asked that question and that is what I was told,” O'Malley said.

Monessen Athletic Director Gina Naccarato said the school would have no comment at this time, noting, “We said all we had to say at the two hearings.”

When asked what new evidence Lincoln Park could have, Naccarato said, “I haven't got a clue.”

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or joliver@tribweb.com.

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