Monessen likely will file ap­peal

Dis­trict be­lieves penal­ties too stiff

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - High schools - By Mike White

The Monessen School Dis­trict feels the penal­ties placed onits ath­letic pro­grams by the WPIAL af­ter a brawl in a boys basketball game are too se­vere. Thus, Monessen plans to ask­the PIAA for le­niency.

Monessen has in­formed the WPIAL that it likely will ap­peal the sanc­tions im­posed by the league Mon­day af­ter a hear­ing. PIAA ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Bob Lom­bardi said Wed­nes­day that Monessen school prin­ci­pal Eric Manko asked Tues­day about the proper pro­ce­dures to ap­peal. Manko was not avail­able for com­ment, but WPIAL ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Tim O’Mal­ley said he be­lieves Monessen will ap­peal a five-year pro­ba­tion penalty placed on all ath­letic teams at the school.

The penal­ties came be­cause of a brawl in a game Feb. 6 be­tween Monessen and Clair­ton. Two play­ers from Clair­ton and Monessen started fight­ing in the fourth quar­ter and dozens of fans im­me­di­ately spilled onto the court. Fans were fight­ing play­ers and other fans.

Among the penal­ties the WPIAL placed on Clair­ton and Monessen was a five-year pro­ba­tion pe­riod. Un­der the pro­ba­tion, any vi­o­la­tion or in­ci­dent by a team in any sport will re­sult in the team be­ing banned from the WPIAL play­offs for that sea­son, and a loss of sched­ul­ing by the WPIAL the next two years.

“I would as­sume that’s what Monessen is ap­peal­ing be­cause the other re­stric­tions are up­com­ing,” O’Mal­ley said.

Among the other penal­ties placed on Clair­ton and Monessen were a limit of 30 tick­ets pro­vided to each school for WPIAL play­off games through the semi­fi­nals. All play­ers who dressed for the game and came off the bench dur­ing the fights must serve a one-game sus­pen­sion. Some of the sus­pen­sions al­ready have­been served.

Also, Clair­ton must play all home games the next two sea­sons at 4 p.m.

Lom­bardi said the next time the PIAA board of di­rec­tors will hear ap­peals is March 21. Nei­ther O’Mal­ley nor Lom­bardi has heard from Clair­ton of­fi­cials about an ap­peal.

“The rule is they have 30 days to ap­peal from the date of a dis­trict de­ci­sion,” Lom­bardi said.

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