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OHSAA forces some Chaney athletes to transfer to East to play fall sports

The decision is hanging over the Youngstown football program's head

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) - Earlier this week, students from Youngstown's Chaney High School were forced to transfer to East High after the Ohio High School Athletic Association determined they could not play varsity sports -- including football -- at East.

Now, the athletic director for Youngstown City Schools said the district is in compliance with state regulations and all athletes competing in fall sports at East High can finish the season.

Thursday evening, there was a football game at Chaney High School for the first time in seven years -- freshman and junior varsity players against Barberton.

But hanging over Youngstown's football program are decisions made this week by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, starting with Chaney students -- including varsity football and volleyball players -- not being allowed to compete for East.

Athletic Director Rick Shepas said they found out about it the day before school started.

Both Chaney and East are now OHSAA members so students from one school cannot compete for another school.

Before this week, Shepas twice requested meetings with state officials but was told they weren't necessary.

"I, obviously, was uncomfortable about it, anticipating a possible calamity in the future and that's why I want to be as proactive as I could," he said.

When Shepas learned of the ruling, he contacted all parents and said their students could transfer to East and play. Twelve varsity football and two varsity volleyball players made the transfer.

"If they were going to continue to play at East as they have been doing their whole high school career, then they need to be at East High School Wednesday morning for school," Shepas said.

But there's also a rule stating a student who transfers "shall be eligible for only the first 50 percent of the maximum allowable regular season contests," which could mean Chaney students who transferred to East can only play the first half of the season.

Shepas said there's an intradistrict transfer provision that should apply to the Chaney students and he's asked the state association to allow them to play through the fall season.

An official with the OHSAA said the reason Chaney students could play at East before was because Chaney was a STEM school, so it was permitted.

We asked if the Chaney students who transferred would be allowed to play the entire season but OHSAA hasn't gotten back to us.

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