PDT Sports Writer
The Daily Times learned Saturday that a preseason trip taken by the Minford softball team is a sticky issue in the eyes of the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
Minford athletic director Jeff Pica confirmed Saturday that a March 27-29 trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C. is under investigation. The Falcons went on the trip, which took place during the school’s spring break, for preseason scrimmages leading up to Opening Day, which was March 30.
According to the Out-of-State Travel Bylaw in the OHSAA softball manual, a team cannot conduct practices outside of Ohio with the exception of Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia or the Canadian province of Ontario. Also, any contest, whether it is a scrimmage or a regular season game, that does not take place within the state of Ohio or any of the bordering states/province is considered a regular season game, which constitutes a violation since it started before the first day of the season determined by the OHSAA.
In a written statement, Pica admitted the team played four of its scrimmages during the trip without the understanding they would be considered as regular season games. The school was notified of the issue two weeks ago and last week sent a response to the OHSAA. Minford is waiting for a reply from the organization on the punishment.
According to the bylaw, Minford, who is 11-1 overall and 7-0 in SOCII, would face a potential postseason ban this season as well as further punishment deemed by the OHSAA. Pica hopes transparency leads to leniency.
“When handing down a punishment, Minford High School hopes that the OHSAA will consider that the Minford High School softball team did not knowingly violate the bylaw and made all travel arrangements openly and played all contests openly,” Pica said in the written statement.
The Falcons, according to the school website, were slated to play a road triple-header Saturday at Unioto along with Logan. Minford will be on the road Monday at Valley.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.