An attorney for brothers who were ruled ineligible to wrestle for Canon-McMillan High School has asked Washington County Court to intervene on their behalf.
Giani V. and Nikko C. Martini, now in their junior year, wrestled last season for Trinity High School. They and their father, Isadore Martini, are seeking injunctive relief from a decision of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Inc. of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County.
The scholastic wrestling season lists today as its first play date. Both Trinity and Canon-McMillan are classified as AAA, with Trinity in Section 4-B and Canon-McMillan in Section 4-A.
The boys and their father moved during the final quarter of the 2018-19 school year to an apartment in Canonsburg when his second marriage faltered.
Not wanting to reveal the circumstances surrounding the move, Martini admitted in a document filed with the court that he listed the reason for his sons’ transfer as “alleged inappropriate conduct of former coach.”
The Martinis’ request for an injunction states, “It was unknown to Isadore Martini that this would violate PIAA bylaws and create a problem” with the boys’ transfer.
According to the injunction request filed by attorney Chad Schneider, PIAA rules ban transfers between schools for “athletic purposes.”
In June, the board of the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League met and considered the Martinis’ transfer. The WPIAL denied the boys’ eligibility to wrestle for Canon-Mac during the current season because of the reason Isadore Martini had stated.
The PIAA heard the Martinis’ appeal, but on Nov. 4 it sustained the WPIAL decision.
Trinity High School, according to the injunction request, did not challenge the transfer.
The Martinis claim the PIAA acted outside the scope of its bylaws, and the sports governing body’s denial will cause “immediate and irreparable harm” to the student athletes, potentially causing them to lose college scholarships, punishing them for the action of their father.
Along with seeking the PIAA’s eligibility ruling to be overturned, the Martinis also asked that they be awarded attorney’s fees and court costs.
Giani Martini was an Observer-Reporter Athlete of the Week in January 2018 after becoming the lone individual champion for Trinity at the Tri-County Athletic Directors’ Association wrestling tournament.