PARKERSBURG -Officials at the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission office were not notified of a Kanawha County Circuit Court hearing in which a local judge reinstated four South Charleston football players who had been placed on a one-game suspension by the SSAC for their part in a Friday brawl against Hurricane.
Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Carrie Webster granted a request for a temporary restraining order for players Tyler Harris, Pierria Henry, Emerson Gagnon and Trevand Reese, who had been barred by the SSAC from participating in this Saturday's Class AAA semifinal game against Brooke, set for 1:30 p.m. at Charleston's Laidley Field..
Gary Ray, the executive director of the SSAC, said his office knew nothing about Tuesday's court proceeding.
"We didn't know it was going on,'' said Ray, who said in his 10 years of service at the SSAC, this is the first time it has not been notified of a hearing in which it is one of the parties involved.
Contacted late Tuesday afternoon, Ray said he had just received the judge's order and had forwarded it to the SSAC's legal counsel, Beckley attorney William Wooton.
Ray said the SSAC would like to have its day in court and will be requesting through Wooton an expedited hearing before Judge Webster. Webster had granted the order because there wasn't enough time for a hearing with courts being closed Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving.
Ray said the SSAC always has attempted to be represented at any hearing in which its rules are being challenged.
In the final minute of Friday's quarterfinal game, players from Hurricane and South Charleston became involved in a brawl. The referees who adjudicated the game filed a report with the SSAC saying they had ejected the four South Charleston players - among others - for their role in the incident.
SSAC rules say any player ejected from a game must sit out one-tenth of the season -in football, that amounts to one game -before returning to action.
Ray said that was a state rule approved by the SSAC's member schools, which includes South Charleston.
Ray wasn't aware if South Charleston's Saturday opponent -Brooke -was contemplating legal action, or what would happen if the SSAC had conflicting court orders from two different counties.
That, he said, would be a matter for the SSAC's attorney.