A Pittsburgh-area high school is facing a postseason ban unless it complies with a unique and aggressive demand: It must suspend its head coach.
As reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Valley (Pa.) High football has been informed it will be barred from competing in the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League playoffs unless Valley coach Muzzy Colosimo is suspended for at least one game.
The decision was made by the WPIAL Board after a hearing with coaches and school officials from Valley and Ellwood City high schools related to a skirmish which unfolded between the two teams late in the fourth quarter of their matchup. That fight led to the cancellation of the final two minutes of the game when Valley refused to return to the field after the fight.
“The game should’ve been completed,” WPIAL Executive Director Tim O’Malley told the Post-Gazette. “All of the officials and Ellwood City felt the game could’ve been completed [after the fight], but Valley wouldn’t finish.”
The decision to impose such a unique penalty on Valley is a direct response to the WPIAL’s inability to force a school to suspend an employee. The concept is that by announcing a conditional suspension, the WPIAL can force a school into action it might otherwise be reticent to take.
Both the Valley and Ellwood City programs have been placed on probation in connection with the fight. It remains to be seen how Valley will respond to the WPIAL’s decision and whether they will stick by Colosimo.