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Prep Charter team handed one-year postseason ban

Prep Charter will retain its Public League girls' basketball titles, but the Huskies will be barred from capturing a fourth straight crown.

Prep Charter will retain its Public League girls' basketball titles, but the Huskies will be barred from capturing a fourth straight crown.

PIAA's District 12 handed the team a one-year postseason ban Friday for using players with falsified addresses.

Robert Coleman, District 12's executive director, said Saturday that the entire athletic program has been placed on probation for two years but that all other teams remain eligible for the postseason after a vote by the district's executive board.

The vote was a response to a 21/2-month investigation by the school district's inspector general's office that reported the girls' basketball program used players with false addresses to capture the last two Public League and District 12 titles.

According to the inspector general's report, Hannah Timmons and Martianna Wilson commuted to Prep Charter from Coatesville, but the school listed them with Southwest Philadelphia addresses. Timmons played the last two seasons, and Wilson played just this past season.

Prep Charter athletic director Chuck Pearsall could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Coleman said that the inspector general's investigation was ongoing. At the inspector general's request, Coleman ordered Prep Charter to provide every student-athlete's listed residence.

"If something happens with the girls' basketball team again, then it can quickly grow to another year and end up being two or three years of postseason play until the message is clearly understood," Coleman said.

Under the probation, the program "needs to walk a real fine line," Coleman said.

He also said he was confident the district would be able to recover tuition costs for each player. According to the district, the regular education repayment rate is $8,773 for 2011-12 and $8,067 for 2012-2013. The special education repayment rate is $19,423 for 2011-2012 and $19,840 for this school year.

The program will keep its titles, Coleman said, because it presented signed transfer waivers in February just before his office's initial investigation. The forms, signed by the principals of Prep Charter and Coatesville, said the schools believed the transfers were for nonathletic reasons. It is illegal under PIAA rules for a student to transfer for athletic reasons.

The waivers were acquired just before the end of the season, even though it is required for these to be signed before a player practices. Coleman said District 12 was often late in obtaining these because of the high number of student-athletes and was working on ways to fix that.

The reason these waivers were later than most, Coleman said, was a mistake by Prep Charter's administration, which thought a waiver was required only for transfers that remain in a district.

"It's not always the easiest thing to do, to get transfer waivers before they start practicing," he said.