Play Ball

By: Tim Plansinis

As of this past summer, Senior Ben Miller was deemed ineligible for the 2011-2012 Rebels basketball season.  Ben transferred his sophomore year from Mount Lebanon High School to Seton – La Salle. This transfer led to his ineligibility. To gain his eligibility back, Ben had to go through a lengthy process to be approved by the WPIAL in a court hearing.

The history of the WPIAL dates back to 1906, where a small group of educators came together and decided they need to set up rules and regulations for high school athletic competition. The lack of scholastic requirements and rules allowed schools to “recruit” the best players from the area and give them uniforms to play for their high school, regardless of whether they attended there or not. These early educators had to set up rules for transferring or repeating a grade. A player may not transfer schools for “sports related” reasons. Minimum levels of scholastic achievement are set. Also, students are only granted 4 years of high school eligibility unless the WPIAL says otherwise.

Ben Miller found himself caught in the middle of these rules after a transfer in his sophomore year and some grade difficulties required Ben to repeat his 10th grade year.   The Miller family has a rich tradition in basketball and Ben is no exception. Ben’s older sister, Emily, was a 3 year starter at Mount Lebanon High School. She led the Lady Blue Devils to a win in the second round of the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs by a 25 point performance. Also, Ben’s father played college basketball.

Ben was frustrated at the thought of being sidelined for the Rebels season. Although Ben was allowed to attend and participate in open gyms, he would have to skip the remainder of games and practices if found ineligible.

Ben went to the WPIAL court hearing on November 16. He described himself as being nervous before the hearing started. His hearing was a few days before the Rebels basketball tryouts. If cleared to play, Ben will be able to play his 5th year of high school basketball.

Ben came out of the hearing victorious. He is eligible to play in the WPIAL as a fifth year senior. Very rarely will one see a player in the Western Pennsylvania region become eligible to play 5 years of high school sports. Ben described himself as being very excited and told us he was looking forward to the upcoming season.

Ben was welcomed back with open arms into the Rebels basketball program. The players and coaches were excited to see him come back to the team. Although he declined an interview for this article, he assured us of his excitement for the upcoming season. Ben will be in action Friday night at Keystone Oaks against Mars for the debut of his 5th year of high school basketball.

🙂 Ben will also be signing autographs after Friday’s game.

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