Usually, when a player is ruled ineligible, the decision to rule he or she out is made by a governing body, and is done so after attempts by the school to make the athlete eligible, if at all possible.
In a fascinating twist, a Pennsylvania principal has inverted that entire process, unilaterally deciding that a prospective star football and basketball player would take no part in her school's programs because she felt he transferred to the school simply for athletic reasons.
As first reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Greensburg (Penn.) Central Catholic High principal Denise Meyers, pictured at right, single-handedly decided that top prospect Marcus Malara would not be allowed to compete in varsity sports for her school after he transferred from Mount Pleasant (Penn.) High.
That decision led to a completely unique situation, with Myers setting up a meeting between Malara and the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League Board of Control to see if the administrators agreed with her decision. Naturally, those meetings are usually initiated the other way around.
For their part, the WPIAL appears to be more than ready to support Myers' stand in trying to enforce what the league's transfer rules were originally established to do.
"We wouldn't even see the case if principals did that," WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley told the Post-Gazette. "It is very difficult today for people to stand up for what the transfer rule is intended to be. If this, in fact, is the case -- that athletic intent was involved -- it is refreshing that a principal is doing her duty to enforce the rule as it is intended to be enforced."
Meanwhile, Myers insisted she was just trying to do her due diligence and ensure she was making the right decision, though it hardly sounded like she was wavering in her commitment to her cause.
"I just would like the [WPIAL Board of Control] to hear this case and get their take on it," Myers told the Post-Gazette. "According to the PIAA by-laws, the principal is the ultimate authority to determine eligibility."
She's right, even if her decision to actually put her foot down has surprised so many.