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Purcell Marian removed from boys basketball tournament

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COLUMBUS, Ohio –  The Purcell Marian High School boys basketball team was removed from the Ohio High School Athletic Association postseason tournament on Wednesday for violating OHSAA Bylaw 4-7-3, a transfer regulation, OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross announced.

The last team that Purcell Marian defeated in the district tournament, Versailles, will take Purcell Marian’s place on the bracket and play Cincinnati Shroder in a regional semifinal game on Thursday at 9 p.m. at Kettering Fairmont’s Trent Arena.

OHSAA Bylaw 4-7-3 states that once a student plays in a game, the student cannot transfer to another school within a 50 mile radius in the same season and be eligible in that sport. Purcell Marian must forfeit all victories this season in which the ineligible student participated, including in the tournament, and will be replaced on the bracket by the last team it defeated, per OHSAA Bylaw 10-2-3. After the student transferred to Purcell Marian during the season, the school held the student out for half the regular-season games and assumed that the student was then eligible to play.

Purcell Marian released an official response on the school’s website. The response says the Cavaliers believed they acted in good faith when allowing a transfer student to play less than two minutes in a 40-point blowout victory. The statement said the student in question reportedly played in one game for his previous school, which rendered him ineligible.

“We are deeply saddened for our student athletes who have worked so hard to accomplish this achievement as a team. The ruling of the OHSAA may take away their title and a chance at State, but nothing can take away the integrity and sportsmanship, teamwork and commitment of these young men.”

The OHSAA was made aware of the violation on Tuesday. Jim Rigg, superintendent of Cincinnati Catholic Schools, agreed that the regulation and penalty are clear within the OHSAA bylaws and that Purcell Marian accepts the sanction.

“We deeply regret that this happened,” Rigg said. “Purcell Marian is an upstanding member of the OHSAA, and the basketball team was having a great season. We are working with the school administration to ensure that there is a clear understanding of OHSAA regulations, with the intent that this does not happen again. Our athletic programs promote individual development, self-discipline, and Catholic values, and it is important that we follow the OHSAA regulations in achieving this goal.”

“This is a tough day for Purcell Marian, but our member schools expect us to uphold the bylaws that they have voted into place,” Ross said. “This bylaw was voted into place so that kids couldn’t start the season at one school, and then transfer to another nearby school and play in the same season. If a family moves more than 50 miles away, they are obviously moving their residence for reasons such as a job transfer.”

The statement from Purcell Marian added that the decision did not negatively affect the Cavalier community’s pride in the team.

“The 2014-15 Cavalier Varsity Basketball team remains champions to the Cavalier community,” it read.

Posted March 18, 2015

The OHSAA contributed to this report.

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