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WPIAL bans local high school from 2020 football playoffs for using ineligible player

WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. — The West Mifflin High School football team used an ineligible player all season this fall, so the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) has banned the team from the postseason in 2020.

According to our news exchange partners at TribLIVE, the Titans violated eligibility rules by using a player in his fifth year of high school. Because of that, the Titans also have to forfeit all of their games from this past season.

West Mifflin also was placed on probation for two years by the WPIAL.


"They entered (the playoffs) this year ineligibly, so next year someone gets to play in their place," associate executive director Amy Scheuneman told TribLIVE following a hearing at the WPIAL office in Green Tree.

The ineligible player was Ni-Keese Hodges-Demery, a wide receiver who transferred from New Castle to West Mifflin during the 2017-18 school year. TribLIVE reported that his eligibility issues fell through the cracks because he didn't play any sports at West Mifflin last year.

We covered the Titans a few times this season on Skylights. Click here for highlights from their intense game against Belle Vernon.

Officials said the violation was unprecedented. Head coach Rob Steele and the school’s athletic administration are publicly censured, and the school has to submit a plan to avoid repeating something like this.

West Mifflin can appeal the decision to the PIAA.

West Mifflin went 5-6 overall this season in Steele’s first year as the team’s coach. The Titans lost to South Fayette, 52-0, in the first round of the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs.