Ligonier Valley High School football coach Roger Beitel confirmed reports that the PIAA on Tuesday upheld an earlier District 6 Committee vote ruling standout quarterback Kyle Silk ineligible to play for the Rams.
Currently a senior who transferred from United High School in June, Silk will be eligible to play basketball at Ligonier Valley, Beitel said.
Beitel said the PIAA vote was 5-0 to uphold the District 6 ruling, which was made earlier this month.
“We are extremely disappointed to find out today that the PIAA ruled Kyle Silk ineligible for football for his senior year in high school,” Beitel said during a Tuesday telephone interview.
“My heart breaks for this young man for he had no idea that he would never be able to play under the Friday night lights again.”
A second-team all-state pick as an athlete, Silk was among the area’s statistical leaders with 1,505 rushing yards and an area-best 241 points during his junior season.
He had 31 touchdowns, 11 extra points, two field goals and 19 two-point conversions. Silk helped United go 9-5 and advance to the District 6 Class A title game, where the Lions finished runner-up to Juniata Valley.
Silk transferred to Ligonier Valley following his junior year. Under PIAA rules, athletes who transfer after their sophomore year may face hearings to determine eligibility.
United did not sign off on the transfer, which moved the matter to the District 6 Committee.
A District 6 motion to declare Silk eligible received eight yes votes and nine no votes during the Aug. 7 meeting.
Ligonier Valley appealed the ruling.
The PIAA held a brief teleconference call Tuesday to address the matter, Beitel said.
“I’m internally struggling with this decision because I thought the purpose of interscholastic sports was to promote the student-athlete and not destroy them,” Beitel said.
The Rams coach said Silk is permitted to practice with the team but may not play in games. Beitel said, if possible, he hopes to invite colleges interested in Silk to watch him work out.
He said the Rams players broke Tuesday’s practice both disappointed and motivated by the news.
“In just two months, he was one of them,” Beitel said of Silk.
“I don’t know who the winner is in this situation,” Beitel added. “He can play basketball. If he wanted to, he could play golf. They only banned him in football.”