The University volleyball team will not be participating in the final day of the 3A Regional tournament today, the WIAA board ruled Thursday.
The WIAA ruled that U-Hi played all season with an ineligible player who attends a private school.
The player, a sophomore and a two-year starter, attends The Oaks Academy, a private school in Spokane Valley. Although she lived in U-Hi’s boundaries, the player should have played at The Oaks because the school fields a volleyball team, the board ruled.
“We got a phone call Wednesday from a parent in a somewhat unrelated matter,” WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese said. “We did some checking and that was when we discovered what had happened. The board ruled on the eligibility of the student and required forfeiture for any match that she participated in. It’s unfortunate. The board looked at quite a few ways to remedy the situation.”
Colbrese said U-Hi must vacate all of its wins.
Kennewick will take U-Hi’s place today as two state qualifiers are decided when the tourney concludes at Mt. Spokane. Kennewick was the team U-Hi eliminated last Saturday.
Colbrese said no team had to replace U-Hi in the tourney. It was the decision of Districts 5/6 and 8 to offer Kennewick the opportunity to play today and Kennewick accepted.
U-Hi coach Mark Weis met with his team after school Friday.
“It’s very unfortunate,” Weis said. “We’re having a tough time dealing with it. You work so long to get to this point. I have a lot of personal feelings I won’t get into. The WIAA is the ruling body. We’ll move on. We’ll recover.”
“It’s been a very, very long day,” U-Hi athletic director Ken Van Sickle said. “It’s been heart-wrenching. I feel so bad for our players. It’s been devastating for the player involved and her family – maybe more so for them instead of the rest of the team. For our girls who have done nothing wrong to be punished this way … it’s very difficult.”
Although The Oaks isn’t sanctioned with the WIAA, because it fields a team and plays other schools it’s deemed to be involved with interscholastic competition, Van Sickle said.
“It’s unfortunate for the other members of our league,” Van Sickle said. “At no time did any of our coaches or players mislead or not follow the rules of the WIAA.”
Mt. Spokane meets Kamiakin in the first match this afternoon at 2 to decide the regional champion. The winner advances to state as the region’s top seed.
Southridge and Kennewick play at 4 in a loser-out match. The winner turns around and faces the Kamiakin/Mt. Spokane loser to decide the second state berth.