Wil­son ad­mits us­ing in­el­i­gi­ble player in state ti­tle run

The Southern Berks News - - SPORTS - By Matthew DeGe­orge mde­ge­[email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @sports­doc­tormd on Twit­ter

The end of the PIAA Class 4A boys soc­cer fi­nal be­tween Rad­nor and Wil­son fea­tured a his­toric dose of con­tro­versy. It may have been just the be­gin­ning, though.

Wil­son fielded an over­age player on its state-ti­tle win­ning team, the school district’s su­per­in­ten­dent shared in an an­nounce­ment Thurs­day, and the school and PIAA are in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

“On Tues­day, we dis­cov­ered a dis­crep­ancy be­tween records re­gard­ing the age of a stu­dent ath­lete on our Var­sity Boys Soc­cer team,” Wil­son su­per­in­ten­dent Dr. Richard H. Fai­d­ley wrote.

“Penn­syl­va­nia In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion (PIAA) rules clearly pro­hibit a stu­dent ath­lete from par­tic­i­pat­ing if they have reached 19 years of age be­fore July 1 of the im­me­di­ately pre­ced­ing school year. Upon fur­ther re­view, we found that the stu­dent and his guardian failed to dis­close his cor­rect date of birth on sev­eral re­quired doc­u­ments, in­clud­ing the PIAA Com­pre­hen­sive Ini­tial Pre-Par­tic­i­pa­tion Phys­i­cal Eval­u­a­tion. The District’s in­ter­nal in­quiry, as­sisted by its solic­i­tor, re­vealed that the stu­dent know­ingly en­tered an in­cor­rect date of birth, and his ac­tual date of birth ren­ders him in­el­i­gi­ble to par­tic­i­pate in in­ter­scholas­tic ac­tiv­i­ties.

“The Wil­son School District rec­og­nizes that we have an obli­ga­tion to re­port the in­frac­tion to the PIAA. We are also tak­ing cor­rec­tive ac­tions to en­sure against a re­cur­rence. Once the PIAA has re­viewed our sit­u­a­tion, we will pro­vide an up­date to our com­mu­nity.”

Fai­d­ley con­tacted Rad­nor’s ad­min­is­tra­tion about the is­sue as part of the dis­clo­sure process.

Per the PIAA’s By-Laws’ “Max­i­mum Age Rule,” “A stu­dent shall be in­el­i­gi­ble for in­ter­scholas­tic ath­letic com­pe­ti­tion upon at­tain­ing the age of nine­teen years, with the fol­low­ing ex­cep­tion: If the age of 19 is at­tained on or af­ter July 1, the stu­dent is el­i­gi­ble, age-wise, to com­pete through that school year.” Waivers can be sought on a per-sport ba­sis but re­quire cer­tain con­di­tions and pro­ce­dures that ap­par­ently were not fol­lowed in this in­stance.

The fi­nal’s end­ing at Her­shey­Park Sta­dium was con­tro­ver­sial enough. Wil­son’s Vic­tor Vot­tero won the game with 17 sec­onds left, his shot judged to have fully crossed the goal line in the eyes of a trail­ing ref be­fore be­ing swept away by Rad­nor de­fender Josh Savadove. The goal stood, the only marker in a 1-0 de­ci­sion for Wil­son.

The use of an over­age player can force Wil­son’s for­fei­ture, but it is un­likely to af­ford the tro­phy to Rad­nor. The PIAA’s By-Laws, Ar­ti­cle XIII, Sec­tion 3D, gov­ern­ing “Penal­ties” states that, “If a Team re­quired to for­feit a Post­sea­son Con­test has won a Con­test … fol­low­ing the fi­nal In­ter-District Cham­pi­onship Con­test, the cham­pi­onship in that sport will re­main va­cant for that year.”

Wil­son’s home district, District 3, and the PIAA main of­fice in Me­chan­ics­burg will han­dle the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, per two sources with knowl­edge of the process. Only then would District 1 or Rad­nor be in­volved.

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