Judge Steps In

September 28, 2018

An Ohio court recently granted a restraining order against the Ohio High School Athletic Association, thus enabling five otherwise ineligible athletes to continue to play. 

According to The Vindicator, Judge Anthony D'Apolito granted Julian Johnson's request for a restraining order, thus enabling Johnson to play for the Irish as a junior wideout and defensive back until his case is heard on October 12. Judge Maureen Sweeney recently made a similar order against the OHSAA for four athletes—football players Tyler Wagner, Patrick Allen Jr. and Lennie Davenport and as well as volleyball player Miranda McCann—who had become ineligible to play for East Hill High School because they went to Chaney last season.

Rick Shepas, the Athletic Director for Youngstown City Schools, said he was “indifferent” to the suit, and would follow any directive that the state gives his school.

“Their status is the same as it was last week,” Shepas said of the four athletes. “They’re in practice and they’ll play until we’re told otherwise. That will be the way it is. If that should change, we’ll be in compliance and work through the whole process.”

Walter Madison, Johnson's attorney, sued the OHSAA on Thursday, noting that while Johnson played the entire 2017 season at Ursuline, he had to transfer to Chaney for the spring semester, due to his family being unable to afford the tuition, and transferred back once his father had enough money.

Shepas said eligibility issues are coming up now because schools are submitting their enrollment numbers to determine competitive balance.

“It’s all new for the state, numbers were first reported in July and there’s some uniqueness to how Chaney coming back into the sports picture and then you have competitive balance numbers due at the same time,” Shepas said. “It’s complicated for everyone involved. It really is.”

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