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Clairton, Monessen School District Sports Programs On 5-Year Probation

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The sports programs in the Clairton and Monessen school districts are on five years' probation.

The probation applies to all sports.

If there are any violations, that sport will not be eligible for tournaments that season. In addition to that, both schools must initiate a sportsmanship program with consequences for bad behavior.

The WPIAL issued the ruling Monday following a fight between the two districts' basketball teams last week.

Monessen's basketball coach Joe Salvino says he'll honor the WPIAL decision.

"I do feel bad for some of the kids that were on our bench, when, to be honest with you, we had no where to go," he said. "If you did leave the bench, then you were going to get caught up into that stuff. But like I said, it is what it is."

Both Clairton and Monessen will be able to play in the playoffs.

But the board said they did discuss banning both teams from the playoffs altogether.

"This board is very sensitive to the fact that they're called to be administered in the interscholastic athletic needs of the people here in western Pa.," WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley said. "That -- and again, the media was to the opinion that that could be a suitable punishment -- was discussed, but we didn't go down that path."

There are some very stiff penalties for the fight though.

During the playoffs, there will be no gate ticket sales at games both Clairton and Monessen. They will be able to sell 30 tickets in advance to players' parents, plus some tickets for administrators.

In addition, the players who were on the bench then joined the fight will be suspended for one game, and Clairton will have to play all its varsity home games at 4 p.m. for the next two years.

"These are two very proud schools. They're two very good administrative teams," O'Malley said. "Well-intended, didn't want for this to happen, and I think the board took that into account."

Clairton and Monessen do have a right to appeal this decision.

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