The St. Vincent-St. Mary High School varsity baseball and softball teams have been removed from the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournaments for 2019.
The OHSAA announced on Thursday that St. V-M violated Bylaw 9-2-1, Contests With Out of State Schools, when each Irish team missed school time to travel to participate in games with schools located outside of the contiguous boundaries of the state of Ohio.
“The rule is that schools can miss school time to play games in Ohio and in the contiguous states to Ohio,” OHSAA Director of Communications Tim Stried said. “For example, a team can miss school to play a game in West Virginia. But the only time a team can play a game outside of the contiguous states is if they aren’t missing school time. For example, a team can play a game in Virginia on a Saturday. And the most common example, of course, is when a team goes south on spring break.”
St. V-M’s baseball and softball teams missed school for trips to Tennessee in late March. St. V-M is set to have its Easter break from April 18-28.
The St. V-M baseball team arrived in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., on March 28 and visited the Great Smoky Mountains. St. V-M played games on March 29-30.
The St. V-M softball team also traveled to Tennessee to play in the Smoky Mountain Invitational, playing games March 29-31.
St. V-M’s baseball team entered Thursday with a 5-5 record under coach Anthony Boarman and the softball team came into Thursday 3-7 under coach Nick Dadich.
“This was something we had scheduled back in the summer,” Dadich said. “Last year, the [spring] break was early and this year it is late April. … We were not trying to gain an advantage. I am a second-year coach with the softball team, and I should know the rules. It is not one of the rules that I look at. The bylaws are not something that I look at as strictly as the day-to-day rules that could come into play.”
Dadich said he “takes accountability on my end for sure for making a grave error.
“The only part I am disappointed in with the OHSAA is that I don’t want to punish kids for an administrative error,” Dadich said. “… I hate the fact that a senior has to pay such a deep cost for an administrative error. That is the shame in this. I coached high school baseball for almost 15 years [at North, St. V-M and Tallmadge] before I got into softball. I had the Little League World Series softball team from Tallmadge, and I have always done stuff strictly for the memories that the kids create. It crushes me to think that I might have done something here or my lack of knowledge of the bylaws can affect kids playing.”
The executive director’s office of the OHSAA administered the penalty outlined in the bylaw and removed each team from its respective OHSAA-sponsored postseason tournament.
“You have the facts that we have,” St. V-M Athletic Director Willie McGee said. “Honestly, at this point you have the same information that we have. ... Everything that they put out was accurate, so we have no dispute of their account of it.”
Stried said the rule was put in place because of the St. V-M boys basketball travel schedule during the seasons that LeBron James, a 2003 graduate of St. V-M, played for the Irish.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org.