Mercyhurst Prep forfeits baseball title

   May 29, 2012 3:57 pm    72


Mercyhurst Preparatory School has forfeited its District 10 Class A baseball championship.

The Lakers violated a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association bylaw this past week by having postgraduate players pitch to current players during practice. According to Section 1B of the PIAA bylaws, which was enacted July 24, 2009, “no person who has graduated or withdrawn from high school is eligible to participate in Practices, Inter-School Practices, Scrimmages, and/or Contests.”

Mercyhurst Prep admitted to using three graduated players in practice before playing Conneaut Lake High School in the District 10 Class A semifinals. The Lakers won 15-4, then defeated West Middlesex Area High School 1-0 Monday in the District 10 championship.

District 10 baseball director Harry Rafle contacted Mercyhurst Prep after an article was published Saturday in the Erie Times-News in which Mercyhurst admitted to using former players in practice.

Mercyhurst Prep offered the forfeit to West Middlesex. West Middlesex will represent District 10 in the PIAA Class A playoffs Monday at Slippery Rock University.

Coach Randy Durkoske declined to comment today.

It is unclear if Mercyhurst Prep has forfeited both playoff wins or only the District 10 championship game.

Mercyhurst Prep was placed on probation by District 10 this spring for one year after violating recruiting regulations with its boys soccer program,

See Wednesday’s Erie Times-News and for more.

— Tom Reisenweber



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72 Responses to “Mercyhurst Prep forfeits baseball title”

  1. One has to wonder if this will affect future eligibility for athletes at Prep since they were already on probation.

  2. dru says:

    This rule is wrong. The coach doesn’t seem to have broken the rules intentionally either. The boys are the ones that will pay the biggest price and I AM SURE that they didn’t know about this petty rule.
    It’s actually a great way to develope your team and how great is it that alum will come back to help.
    I’m no alum either.

  3. Lake says:

    D10 was informed of this on Saturday but declined to make them forfeit to us(Conneaut Lake)why not you ask, since these ex players were brought in to prepare for our lefties?

    • Tom Reisenweber says:

      I believe Conneaut Lake is awarded a forfeit for the semifinals. West Middlesex is the D-10 champion and moves on to the PIAA playoffs.


  4. Confused says:

    Im sorry, but please explain the logic. If the violation was discovered on Saturday,the decision to eliminate Mercyhurst should have been made then or the playoff game on Monday should have been postponed until a decision was made as to Mercyhurst’s ability to move on. Conneaut Lake should have moved on in the playoffs. I understand that it was a holiday weekend, however, if you want to be part of the D10 Official Rules Committee (or whatever they are called) then you need to make yourself available to handle issues as they arise.

  5. oh. says:

    this is just absolutely ridiculous. D10 is now being represented by a false champion.

  6. TC says:

    So, Conneaut Lake would be the Class A runner-up? Weren’t the awards already handed out at the championship game?

  7. Lake says:

    Since we lost to WM 7-3 in first game of year that was the tiebreaker I guess.We were told on Saturday around 5pm that there would have to be a hearing and mondays game was not going to be changed for any reason

    • Tom Reisenweber says:

      According to District 10, Conneaut Lake did not file an official complaint. Also, West Middlesex filed its official complaint after Monday’s game was over.


  8. Dan says:

    1st d10 did screw up on late decision…so all teams involved were hurt in this delay…
    2nd d10 punishes kids who don’t know the rules! Good job there again!
    And 3rd……last time I knew game is decided on field…..may the better team win..and looks like that team was Mercyhurst …

  9. Lake says:

    We were given a heads up on Sat at around 2pm that we may have to play on monday.When D10 was contacted later in day we told above comment.

    • Tom Reisenweber says:

      The official word from D-10 is Conneaut Lake never filed a complaint and the process went into effect when West Middlesex filed its complaint Monday.


  10. Dan says:

    So if westmiddlesex didnt lose would they have protested???????? I think not!!!!!!!

  11. ban says:

    Regardless of anything else…how stupid of a rule is this? You can’t have alumni come back and pitch? seriously?

  12. to Dan, if MP does not violate the rules then there is nothing to protest about. They broke the rules then got caught, sucks for the kids, the coaches should apologize to each and every one of them and their parents. They should have known the rules, it is part of their jobs.

  13. T says:

    this rule has nothing to do with “alumni” only. any person above high school age (former players, parents, etc) who are not identified as coaches who participate in any practice in any fashion (pitching, shagging balls in the outfield, etc), scrimmage, etc constitute a violation of the rule. how many local schools do you think have violated this ridiculous rule? It’s a desperate and weak way to make the PIAA playoffs Middlesex!

  14. oh. says:

    i think it should be once the game is played you can’t change the results. they knew before monday therefore it’s their fault not mps.

  15. MPSALUM says:

    Shame on District 10 and Middlesex for allowing the game to be played when they were going to take that win away from those kids! If there was any doubt they should have had to forfeit the Conneaut Lake game. Now you punish kids who have worked hard all year by taking away a championship they won fair and square for a stupid rule that every team I’m sure at one time or another has broken. Congrats MPS Baseball on a great year! Your are Disctrict 10 Champs!

  16. craig says:

    Wm did inform d10 official prior to game. Also provided copy of rule violated. D10 at first claimed to know nothing of the rule. When confronted with knowledge that CL had already called him regarding issue, he admitted knowing of the violation. I don’t think d10 is corrupt, just terribly represented by older officials.

  17. petej says:

    First, I was an assistant HS coach from 2007 – 2011. The first thing I(we) did was to review the rules – new ones first. Rules are rules; good, bad or indifferent. In this case the coaches need to stand up, take the blame and apologize to: (1)their own team and school, 2) WM for even taking the field on Monday and, 3) The Conneaut Lake players, coaches, parents and fans that NEVER had the chance to experience a D-10 title game.

    If I understand correctly, this all came up on Saturday? Still trying to figure out how anyone would know of this violation in order to file an “OFFICIAL COMPLAINT”.

    If it were by free admission of a MP coach as I have read, then Mondays game should have been between WM and CL – plenty of time if you are a D-10 official.

    My “childern” have graduated. I have no “dog in the hunt”. So now I can state this; WOULD D-10 PLEASE APPOINT A TOTALLY NEW BASEBALL COMMITTEE!

    None of this should have ever gotten to this point! Please, the young people come first. Please step aside.

    • Tom Reisenweber says:

      District 10 does not act unless something is requested. If you look at things like transfers, District 10 won’t investigate if transfers are on athletic intent unless a principal opposes it. This is much like the PIAA policy. The PIAA doesn’t act on anything unless a member school comes to them.

      Even if there are rumors on Saturday, those are just rumors. There actually would have been no action at all if West Middlesex didn’t file a complaint after the game.

      District 10 will tell you that there are procedures and rules in place for everyone. If no team initiates these procedures, District 10 won’t go through them.


  18. confused says:

    Someone is not providing the facts straight. On Saturday afternoon, CL players were told they may be playing on Monday because of the violation. Later that day, the players received word that the schedule for Monday would not be changed and would move forward as previously planned however, there would be a hearing on the situaton.If it is true that no complaint occurred until after the game on Monday, why were the CL players told there would be a hearing. As you say, “no complaint filed, no action would have been taken” Isn’t a scheduled hearing an action resulting from a complaint?

  19. Casper says:

    This is not a new rule. The coaches are to blame for violating the rule. It’s even more embarrassing if they were not aware of it, which I find hard to believe. The athletic director should remind teams over Christmas break to not let former students come practice with basketball and wrestling teams and the same thing when colleges get out to not let former players come practice with the spring teams.

    I’m sure other teams have violated the rule and got away with it, but I also know of schools that really take this rule serious.

  20. JT says:

    The article states that D10 official “Harry” saw the comment in the paper …….so was he allowed to act on the comment or did he have to wait for someone to file a complaint?

    Where is the AD for Mercyhurst Prep? He/she SHOULD know the rules. Or the school needs to provide the rules to all coaches….did they do that? It’s easy to blame the coaches but were they supplied w/the rule? If not, this is an administrative issue that the AD and principal should have been on top of. The coaches aren’t at the PIAA or Athletic Directors meetings. This information had to be discussed at this time.

    Just because other teams do it doesn’t make it right. Some folks drink and drive and don’t get busted … some get busted. Either way, it’s the law (or rule in this situation) and has to be followed.

    And why the heck does someone have to file a complaint in this situation? If D10 official Harry read this in the paper he (or D10) should have been all over it immediately.

  21. JT says:

    The other thing…If WM filed a complaint then obvioulsy they were aware of the rule. So, someone was doing their job at WM.

  22. Dan says:

    So once again like I said…..IF MIDDLESEX WINS THAT GAME DO THEY PROTEST??? No they don’t!!! And it’s obvious that the wm coach knew before game started he should’ve protested before game not wait till they lost!!!! SORE LOSER!!!! And as for this rule about not helping kids out to be better by using others to help…is the dumbest rule ever!!! Get rid of it!!

  23. Bob says:

    Dan, What rules should the schools abide by, which ones should be bent and which one should they ignore?

  24. dan says:

    here is what i am saying……..if west middlesex knew b4 the game started.. which clearly he did! why did he wait till AFTER the game to call and protest!!? if he wins he doesnt say a word! thats my point!! he should have said something on sunday or monday! he played the game and LOST! take it like a man! not A SORE LOSER!

  25. Casper says:

    Why not just follow the rules in the first place. Win like a winner, not a cheater. If they would have followed the rules then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Quit blaming WM and hold MP accountable.

  26. critter83 says:

    yes a rule was broke and no I am not a fan of mp but I would not want to be a player on wm team and know how we made play offs..really a bitter sweet feeling…..this is petty and I know this goes on all the time in every sport……football there is alum on the sidelines during games and how many wrestlers practice at boro during the season.change the rule and let the kids help kids!

  27. Joe says:

    I know for a 110% fact Mercyhurst Prep is not the only team in this playoffs that does that

  28. kay says:

    From what I’ve seen from the MP sports programs, if the shoe were on the other foot they’d be the first ones to cry foul. That being said “rules are rules” and because WM coaches were knowledgeable concerning the rules and followed the appropriate procedures, they should be the winners. Maybe the coaches for MP should not only learn the rules but abide by them as well.

  29. MPS Fan says:

    They should have “cried foul” BEFORE they lost. Again shame on D10 officials for the way this whole situation was handled. MPS has an excellent baseball program that comes from hard work by coaches and players.

  30. Mike_Thomas says:

    Yea. Typical Erie bawling from certain fans.

  31. MPS Fan says:

    Not bawling…….they broke the rule so they should have been disqualified from the championship game, not let them play the game and win so they could have it taken away. If D-10 and the other teams were aware of this they should have stepped up sooner.

  32. ADS says:

    I think its time for MP’s top officials to take a look at their sports program from the AD down. Something’s wrong when the AD & baseball & soccer coaches know the rules but ignore them & don’t tell everyone’s doing it because not everyone does.

  33. TrailStrider says:

    I feel bad for the Mercyhurst Prep kids. Yes, they may have won the game but it was a game they shouldn’t have even been in. The program should have forfeited after Saturday’s victory. This is a classic “Win” at all costs situation. What great values we as adults are instilling in our kids. District 10 should have also taken a “proactive” approach and not allowed the game to be played on Monday. Either that or make a firm decision on Sunday. Isn’t that their job? It was handled very sloppy.
    Finally, a 1 year probation was already handed down to MP for soccer violations. As an AD, wouldn’t I make sure my other programs are clean? Again, I feel bad for the MP kids but I feel even worse for the CL kids who should have playing in that game on Monday.

  34. TC says:


    Couldn’t agree more.

  35. DAN says:


  36. Michelle says:

    Yes a rule was broken, no one is disputing that. The problem here is that the WM coach knew well before Monday’s game and did not file the complaint until after they lost. He should have done so as soon as he knew about the violation, but decided to wait until the game was over and they lost. I do not believe if the MP coach knew of the rule he would have openly admitted to breaking it, that would be plain stupid, like the rule itself. If the coach takes the “illegal” action than it should be the coach, not the KIDS, that suffers the punishment. I feel that if you do not make your complaint before the game is played it should no longer be an issue!!!

  37. Lake says:

    My AD was contacted by WM on Sat about a rules infraction by MP he then talked to someone at D10 about an offcial protest and was told to wait and see what WM did.They also said that there were not going to change mondays teams beacause they had to have a hearing and couldnt get every one together on holiday weekend.So we waited and look what that got us…

  38. Lake says:

    futhermore on Sat MPs AD was aware of a possible violation and started a investigation and learned thru meeting with coach that indeed there was a violation of rules,so why did they not voluntarily forfeit then, why wait until Monday.Bottom line we werent allowed to file a protest by D10.D10 needs to come clean on this something smells real bad!!!

  39. Railbender says:

    First congrats to the MPS boys for a great year, also the WM boys also. Unfortunate to see this happen but remember, Championships are won on the field.MPS lost on a “tuck rule” call, WM players know this. To the haters if MPS was so hellbent on winning why would they offer to forfeit? The shame is as much with WM for accepting this sham as with the MPS coach for missing the boat on the rule. Just be careful not to step outside of the 3rd base coaching box next game as it may happen to you too,WM. D-10-wake up!

  40. PghDad says:

    Why didn’t MP forfeit the game prior to it even being played if they knew there was a blatant violation? Being on probation is nothing to take lightly. Or did they do exactly what WM did and wait to see if they lost? If they had lost, no one would have filed a complaint. So WM waited. So what? MP waited too.

  41. Casper says:


    The problem is not with the WM coach and them playing the game. Quit trying to take the focus off of the real issue. So what if WM played the game and then the complaint got taken care of. How do you know they didn’t file it sooner? Maybe they weren’t working on Sunday or like others have said, a holiday weekend.

    You say that you don’t believe that the MP coach knew the rule? He’s been coaching a long time, most of the coaches I’ve talked to about this know of that rule, and if he didn’t know about it then that’s not a very good sign of things at MP either.

    It does affect the kids. Just like in college if a program gets put on probation for rules violations, the coach is able to go to another school and not have any consequences while the school he was at and the new coaching staff has to deal with the problems that the old coach put them in.

    Also, like others have stated, not everyone is doing it. Some coaches try to abide by the rules.

  42. ban says:

    Lol the ones who aren’t doing it are the ones who don’t give a crap about their players and haven’t built up a program. No matter the sport, any team with a coach who isn’t a smuck does this because they stay in contact with their former players. I’m in no way related to MPS, I just know a stupid rule when I see one.

  43. Warren says:

    Removing all emotion from the issue, two points are clear:
    1. The rule has been in place for years and coaches in all sports are well aware of it. The MP coach should know the rule. I’d be shocked if he did not. My guess is he elected to break the rule figuring he would not get caught. MP is at fault and has been penalized according to the rule.
    2. D-10’s position, per Tom, not to enforce rules unless a complaint is filed is absurd. The instant a violation occurs, it should be looked at to determine what action is necessary. These folks all have cell phones. A decision could be made within an hour. D-10’s performance in this case was shameful. I’ve said many times once an educator retires, he/she should be forced to retire from D-10 also. Decisions should be made on what is best for the student/athletes. Too many D-10 decisions are made on what is best/easiest for the D-10 big-wigs who keep lining their pockets with game-manager fees. We need some young blood committed to doing things right.

  44. PghDad says:

    I believe the intent of the rule is to ultimately keep the kids safe. Coaches need to have state child abuse and criminal history clearances. Allowing “just anyone” to stop by and hang out with a bunch of minor students invites trouble. If a student athlete is injured while practicing with anyone who is not a part of the team or the coaching staff also puts the school itself at a huge liability. Is it only a stupid rule because MP got caught breaking it? Is the message MP sends to its students that it is OK to break rules that they deam unworthy of them? They got caught. I find it hard to believe that the coach didn’t know the rule, but the responsibilty lies with the AD to keep the coaches informed of all PIAA by laws and a school that is on probation should be paying very close attention to the by laws.

  45. critter83 says:

    I can see it now..this fall there is going to be so many heads rolling…every program is going to be spying and taking pictures to get that win….LOL Coaches better be on thier toes ,I have a feeling We are just hearing the beginning of this story!

  46. So obvious says:

    I have no doubt nothing was done sooner because it was a holiday weekend and the D10 baseball official in charge didn’t want to be bothered. Confused said it best “make yourself available to handle issues as they arrive”. He didn’t and maybe its time for Raffle to step down and let someone else in who will put more effort into the whole tournament.

  47. Casper says:

    haha ban. You sound so ignorant. There are teams that are doing it by the rules. They have these alumni on the volunteering coaching list and they have their clearances on file in the admin office. These are the coaches who actually care more about their players and aren’t willing to lose a game to a stupid rule.

    So as you said “they are the one’s who don’t give a crap,” I think you have it backwards. Your MP coaches obviously didn’t care enough to go about things the right way, so that shows they don’t care about their players. So in your words, coaches that do it your way are the smucks.

  48. JT says:

    I think PGH Dad is correct. The intent is safety. There have been 2 instances in the past where HS kids were hurt – one occurred when a college wrestler came back to practice (and help) with the HS team and a HS wrestler was injured. Another happened in a summer bball league when a college kid landed a punch on a HS kid (these are just a few instances).

    It’s easy to point the finger at WM. But it seems apparent that D10 told WM to play first then protest. You can’t really protest a game that hasn’t been played. Clearly MP violated the rule. Here is where the blame should be placed. I would love to know if the coach was aware of the rule or not? If so, he should be canned. If not, then the AD and principal need to answer to their student athletes. That’s a shame if so.

    I asked a few local coaches if they were aware of the rule – one coaches basketball and he said yes he knew of it two years ago when his AD and Principal told all coaches to cease using former grads. Everyone in the gym has to be board approved w/clearances. And former students approved as “coaches” does not mean they are allowed to practice against the team.

    The rule stinks for current teams. But unfortunatley it has led to injuries. It’s the job of the PIAA to protect its student athletes.

  49. bob says:

    your right some coaches and ad’s are aware but still break it! i know of 4 schools who have..its not just baseball!! its all sports!! and you can play a game under protest before the start!

  50. LMOC says:

    Looks like the WM coach followed correct procedure, but D10 officials could/should have been quicker on the draw. This rule may be unpopular, but has legitimate reasoning (safety and liability). The phrase I haven’t seen here is what the NCAA calls ‘institutional oversight’, and is what D10 should evaluate as it relates to MP. It’s possible that MP is doing the same things as other schools, and just happened to run into a streak of bad luck. If so, I expect other schools to get caught in the same way in the near future. If not, refer back to the institutional oversight – AD, principal, board of trustees, etc. See if there is a problem there.

  51. Rowe says:

    I know for a fact that other schools around the area do the same exact thing from talking to friends that play for these schools. And in this situation does the punishment really fit the crime? Its not like the coaching staff was spying on West Middlesex practice. Its not like the Mercyhurst alumni were playing the games for them. MErcyhurst was the better team and they proved that by winning 15-4 and 1-0. And if any game should have been forfeited it should have been the Conneat Lake game not the West middlesex game because no alumni came to practice after the Conneat Lake game.
    Sad for the players to know they won but have it taken away. For West Middlesex, how can you accept the title after you lost on the field?

  52. Bob says:

    West Middlesex didn’t make the rules and doesn’t enforce the rules, blaming them for anything in this matter is off base.

  53. JT says:

    Blaming WM in anyway is nonsense.

    Some people speed while driving and get caught. Some speed and don’t get caught. So the folks who do can’t go into court and say, “hey everyone does it” therefore i’m innocent. That’s not how it works.

    MP has to own up to the fact they violated a rule. They got caught. It also should put more people on alert to the subject.

  54. billy says:

    well ladies and gents…rumor has it cl had a player at there practice! ummmmm!!! why dont you think they filed appeal?? and wm just capatilzed on was win win for him…he knew that mh threw themselves under the bus! why not wait to play the game and protest.. cuz he nothing to lose! like some1 said b4 ..if they win do they say anything? no…so i say.. if you didnt win you shouldnt say anything! remember that rule exists to protect kids and piaa from beening hurt! which happened 4 yrs ago.

  55. GBQ says:

    The bottom line—The MPS AD did not do his job in this case or in the soccer recruiting violation. Even with MPS being on probation, more PIAA rules were broken. Ignorance is not an acceptable excuse. The AD is responsible, incompetent, and needs to be terminated. Amazingly the AD also happens to be the varsity girls basketball coach—he needs to be terminated or resign from both positions to give MPS a fresh start.

  56. tmj says:

    Today’s article in the Erie Times by Bob Jarzomski sums up this situation very well, and it’s not because it’s an Erie team it’s because it makes sense.

  57. Dan says:

    I agree with tmj………read the article!!!

  58. Trailstrider says:

    To sum up the article in case anyone hasn’t read it, it said, “Mercyhurst Prep is the true District 10 champion because they won the game on the field, even though they cheated.”

  59. CG says:

    MP didn’t cheat at anything! They won that game because they played their best. Both teams played great.It,s just a shame that Wm coach had to take something good and destroy it.He not only hurt MP but his own team because now his team is known as the one if they don,t win they,ll protest.I see this as a great injustice to both teams.

  60. Papa says:

    WestMiddlesex Lost yesterday let’ see if they Protest!!!

  61. C'mon Man says:

    First MP gets a year probation for illegally recruiting kids from other schools (amongst other things), and now this. I guess they don’t feel like they can win on their own and need to find any edge they can. It’s too bad because they have a good team. Now they will be remembered for this incident. The thing is, if they didn’t forfeit that game, they would have faced additional sanctions from PIAA. Just follow the rules!

  62. Nana says:

    Dear Papa – Won’t be a protest because the team they played FOLLOWED THE RULES!

  63. MPS Fan says:

    Since when is it cheating to try and better yourself by working with athletes that are better and more experienced than you are. Thats how YOU become a better player. “You are only as good as your competion”. Why do you think everyone travels south in the spring? To play teams that are better, that’s not cheating. Would it have been a PIAA violation if they had been pitching to those boys in their own backyard? Every team is looking for that edge, it’s called competition.

  64. M says:

    Its happened before Perfetto had college basketball players working with his girls before a state game, it was on one of the local TV stations.

  65. C'mon Man says:

    It’s fine to look for that edge as long as you do it within the rules outlined. This is what MP didn’t do.

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