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Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

District Statement on Boys Basketball Tournament Disqualification

Feb. 13, 2020 -- On Tuesday, February 11, the District appealed the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s decision to remove the Heights High boys basketball team from the upcoming state tournament. Yesterday, the District learned from OHSAA that it denied the District’s appeal.

On February 7, CH-UH Athletic Director Joe D’Amato received an email from OHSAA stating that the team had been disqualified due to its participation in an out-of-state tournament during school days in a non-contiguous state to Ohio.

The team participated in a three-day Las Vegas showcase in December 2019 during the last two days of end-of-semester exams. D’Amato had received prior approval from an OHSAA representative for the team to play in the showcase given that all players were able to complete exams within the District’s allotted “testing window." None of the student athletes missed any instruction for competing in Las Vegas. Classes were not in session on those days based upon the modified school day/exam schedule. 

"We were completely caught off guard by OHSAA’s decision to disqualify us from the state tournament,” D’Amato said. “The coaches and I were aware of the travel rule and we would never knowingly break it. OHSAA granted us permission to participate in the Nevada showcase, period.”

The District immediately appealed this decision and met with OHSAA representatives and legal counsel on February 11. OHSAA delivered their decision the following day.

“The District believed, pursuant to the Bylaws, that competing in an out-of-state tournament was permissible given that our student athletes did not miss any instruction,” D'Amato said. “I am sick to my stomach over the potential opportunities being taken away from our students through absolutely no fault of their own.”

The District is considering its options as it determines how to proceed.

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