PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A decision is expected soon in connection with an alleged incident involving the Penn Hills varsity soccer team and a team in Connellsville.
A closed-door meeting of the WPIAL Executive Board ended just before 8 p.m. Monday after hearing from about two dozen witnesses.
The meeting was scheduled after Penn Hills School officials threatened to cancel all sporting events with Connellsville because some Penn Hills soccer players were allegedly taunted with racial slurs when they had a match in Connellsville earlier this month.
- Connellsville Students Accused Of Yelling Racial Slurs During Game Against Penn Hills
- WPIAL Joins Investigation Into Claims Connellsville Students Used Racial Slurs During Game Against Penn Hills
WPIAL admits finding out what occurred is a challenge.
“Candidly, you know, something was alleged to have occurred. You hear from both sides, then you try to come up with actually what did occur. It’s very difficult,” WPIAL Executive Director Tim O’Malley said.
Witnesses at the hearing included players from both schools, coaches and school administrators.
“We’re not full racists, as we were portrayed in the first article that covered this game,” Mayor Greg Lincoln of Connellsville said.
The Mayor blamed a misleading newspaper article after the game with printing a story that was inaccurate.
The WPIAL will finalize a decision in writing on Tuesday, then forward its findings to both school districts, and then make the findings public.
“We will communicate with them in writing by 8 a.m. Wednesday, and we will release to the media by 10 a.m. that morning the findings we shared with the schools,” O’Malley said.
Whatever decision is made by WPIAL, Lincoln says Connellsville will suffer.
“Once the first article was printed, everyone believed it. It was, ‘yes, this is definitely Connellsville,’ this is us. Not only does it affect the relations in our community, but the student athletes at Connellsville have been having some racial tensions from the black athletes in the school that are very upset at the soccer kids thinking that they did it too,” Lincoln said.
The controversy was also discussed at Monday night’s school board meeting in Penn Hills.
“It’s unacceptable to keep going to different places and playing different sports and hearing the same type of behavior. It’s 2018,” Penn Hills School Board member Denise Graham-Shealey said.
Graham-Shealey called for the WPIAL to sanction Connellsville, saying she does not accept the reasoning from officials that they did not hear any racial slurs on the field.