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BREAKING: Cleveland Heights, Beachwood Out of State Varsity Football Playoffs

Judge reverses own decision, throwing both teams out of the playoffs once again.

Beachwood's and Cleveland Heights' varsity football teams will not play in the state playoffs this weekend after a Cuyahoga County judge vacated his own ruling this afternoon.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against the Ohio High School Athletic Association this week, challenging a JFK forfeit to John Adams that was not observed in the final rankings.

The OHSAA denied the Tigers’ initial appeal to them.

Judge Richard McMonagle granted CH-UH the restraining order against the OHSAA, prohibiting the OSHAA from enforcing its decision discount the forfeit.

Once the OHSAA was forced to count the forfeiture, it trickled through the rankings in Divisions I and IV, bumping Mayfield High School and Ashtabula Edgewood High School from their 8th place spots and bumping CH-UH and Beachwood, respectively, ahead of the two schools.

But at around 2 p.m., McMonagle reversed his decision. Now Ashtabula Edgewood plays Brookfield tonight and Mayfield will play St. Edward tomorrow.

"Our position has been that we respected the OHSAA's administration of the playoff system," said Beachwood City Schools spokesperson Doug Levin. "Though we're dissappointed for our kids, we're abiding by their ruling."

CH-UH Superintendent Doug Heuer said he was "disappointed" over the court's decision in a media release.

"We are very proud of our student-athletes and how they have represented Cleveland Heights High School over the course of this season. We are disappointed by the court’s decision to rescind its earlier ruling. We took this matter to court because it was the right thing to do for our kids. We acted in accordance with our understanding of the rules governing the OHSAA. We wish all of the teams who have been permitted to participate in the tournament the best of luck and well wishes," Heuer said.

Teams were in limbo this week, practicing for teams they weren't sure they would play this weekend.

"It was chaotic," said OHSAA spokesperson Tim Stried, "but we're glad the brackets are back to where they were."

OHSAA Commissioner Dan Ross sent a statement later Friday afternoon: “We are very pleased with the judge’s decision to vacate his initial ruling. We are excited that the football playoffs can go on as planned. We need to constantly work with our member schools since sometimes their interpretations of our regulations are not consistent with ours, so this continues to be an educational piece. I want to thank all the schools involved for their patience this week.”

Mike Giampaolo November 02, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Cleveland Heights wouldn't have beat St. Edwards anyhow, so it didn't matter who got in
Jay Bell November 03, 2012 at 06:03 AM
The schools need to find a way where no one feels cheated out of the playoffs. The worse thing is, the kids are going to feel cheated and discouraged. Not good at all. www.firebrandcentral.com
Don M November 03, 2012 at 07:40 AM
Highly unlikely Heights wins that game, but that's hardly the full point given the circumstances. Justified or not, I'm sure the pain was beyond palpable amongst the Heights and Beachwood players and my heart goes out to them even though I feel the right decision was made in the end. As irrrelevant an accomplish as it may seem to you, simply playing in a state football playoff game against a nationally ranked team would likely represent one of the greatest experiences of some of those CH kids' entire lives going forward, so rememeber that everything is relative in life before tacitly dismissing the value of someone else's dreams.
Don M November 03, 2012 at 08:07 AM
It's all well and good to toss that at someone else's feet and declare "solve this," but how exactly would you accomplish what you're suggesting given the circumstances? Unless you're going to completely eliminate a school's ability to dispute the playoff selection process under ALL circumstances, something that would create its own problems and likely be legally untenable, then hurt feelings and feelings of having been cheated are pretty inevitable once the courts are forced to decide two spots from amongst four schools. Even the well-intentioned but misguided notion of a play-in game would more than likely produce large amounts of discontent and grumbling from the losing teams and their backers in such games as they no doubt would hyporcritically claim after the fact that they never should have had to play the extra game. Perhaps they'd be bigger than that in the end, but you know as well as I do, or at least you should, that they likely wouldn't. It's an unfortunate situation and something that ideally would have been avoided, but all four schools had legitimate arguments to be participants in the OHSAA football playoffs and it serves as a life lesson to the effect that things don't always fall your way and there will always be certain situations where satisfying all parties involved simply isn't going to happen.
Alisa Pearson November 03, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Everyone seems to missing the whole point of this situation. This should have never happened in the first place. If your school district says your are ineligible to play you are ineligible! OHSAA stated the player was eligible by their standards. Really??? No school districts academic requirements should be higher than the association who is in place to regulate and over see the athletic programs of the schools. You can't have it both ways. It's a forfeit on the books for the school, but its not a forfeit in terms of giving Heights the points? This was unnecessary and could have been avoided if OHSAA would have admitted their error from the beginning. The way they had the rulings reversed by going to court with the other to teams to file against Heights and making the threat to make all four teams forfeit if the ruling wasn't reversed was disgusting! Regardless of their chance of winning against Ed's or not, it should have been handled differently by OHSAA. Until next year. Go Heights!
Alisa Pearson November 03, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Above should read: Everyone seems to be missing the whole point of this situation.
michaelschwartz November 03, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Gee, maybe Superintendent Heuer can take a few minutes out of his day now to look into why the Heights schools are ranked in bottom 5% in whole state academically. Great priorities Super! Not
Don M November 04, 2012 at 06:29 AM
We could sit here endlessly and discuss what should have never happened and how supposedly awful what did happen is, but the bottom line is the courts got it right in the end by deeming Beechwood and CH out and that's what matters most. You're correct in pointing out that OHSAA and conference/district academic standards should always be in conjunction with each other and that there's some unfortunate statistical sloppiness in terms of counting the forfeit in one place and ignoring it in another (such uneven scenarios, unfortunate as they are, are not unprecedented in sports in case you're not aware of as much), but the bottom line is that those ultimately represent lesser evils than Beechwood and CH getting in the playoiffs would have been all things considered. Sorry, but your apparently being a disgruntled Heights fan simply doesn't alter that reality and never will.
Don M November 04, 2012 at 06:37 AM
Safe to say no one at Heights is going to be waving any banners while lauding such a dismal statistic, but pointing about their poor academics really has NOTHING to do with the controversy surrounding whether or not their football team should have been admitted to this year's OHSAA playoffs. They had something of a legitimate gripe for that, but Mayfield's position was the stronger one and the courts got it right in the end. I imagine you disagree with that, but no matter, the disparate issues still basically represent apples and oranges. Oh well, I'm done discussing this entire issue and will leave you folks to whine about it further if you feel compelled to do so.

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