By Rod Frisco
For The Daily Item
The PIAA scholastic sports season is abotu a month old and already transfers and disqualifications have hogged the headlines.
While it's not unusual for transfer and eligibility cases to be heard at either the district or state level in September -- the vast majority of transfers occur in the summer months -- two cases in particular have attracted a lot of attention.
The first was the dual case of Boise Ross and Petey Hernandez, both football players who decided to transfer from Pius X High School near Bangor to separate Bethlehem School District schools, Ross to Liberty and Hernandez to Freedom.
The two players were starters last year for Pius X -- Ross was a Class A all-state wide receiver -- and were among at least five football players that left the school. Ross and Hernandez were denied football eligibility at their respective receiving schools following a late August hearing by District 11.
The reason: Pius X had refused to sign the PIAA's Athletic Transfer Waiver form, effectively challenging their transfers on the basis of PIAA's nebulous "athletic intent" rule.
But just two days after the District 11 ruling, Pius X suddenly -- and to this day, inexplicably -- dropped its opposition to the two transfers. District 11 immediately reversed its previous decision and granted Ross and Hernandez immediate eligibility.
Then, just a week later, one of the state's top basketball players last season, Geno Thorpe, announced that he was transferring back to Shaler, where he played the last two seasons, from West Oaks Academy in Orlando, Fla. Thorpe left Shaler, where he lived with his mother, after his junior year to live with his father in Florida.
West Oaks Academy is a private school that has had significant success on the court and has produced a number of Division I scholarship players.