The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League didn’t view the transfers of two brothers in the same way. Therefore, Brett Birch will be eligible for his senior football season at Gateway High School this fall, while Brad Birch is currently ineligible for his sophomore year.
The TribLive High School Sports Network reported Monday that the WPIAL held a combined hearing Monday for the brothers, who transferred in March from Gateway High School in Monroeville to Jeannette High School in Jeannette.
Gateway can appeal to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. As it stands now, Brad is ineligible in football until a year after his transfer date, while Brett is eligible for the regular season and would need to receive a postseason waiver from the WPIAL to play in the playoffs.
“The board felt they were different situations,” WPIAL executive director Amy Scheuneman said, according to TribLive. “Everybody presented their information and the board voted differently on each kid.”
Administrators at Jeannette had flagged the transfers as potentially motivated by athletics. The two schools are less than 20 miles apart. Bob Birch, the boys’ father, says his new job requires travel so the boys will live with their mother in the Gateway School District.
Both Birch brothers earned all-state honors last season as the Jayhawks won the WPIAL and took second in the state in Class A. Brad Birch is a quarterback with a scholarship offer from Oregon, while Brett is a wide receiver and defensive back with an offer from Central Michigan.
The WPIAL board initially voted April 14 to deny athletic eligibility to Brad and Brett.