Court ruling leaves Brookfield football team in limbo

Only a day before the start of the Ohio High School Athletic Association football playoffs, Brookfield's first-round opponent might have changed.

The Cleveland Heights football team won a temporary restraining order in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court today against the OHSAA. The ruling, issued by Judge Richard McMonagle, would put Cleveland Heights and Beachwood in the playoffs and knocks out Mayfield and Ashtabula Edgewood on the eve of the playoffs.

But at approximately 8 tonight, Ashtabula County Judge Alfred Mackey issued an injunction that would reinstate Edgewood's playoff berth.

There was no immediate word as to which court ruling would stand or what the OHSAA's legal team would do in the wake of the original ruling.

Edgewood (7-3) was to meet Brookfield (10-0) Friday night at Girard's Arrowhead Stadium in a Division IV, Region 13 quarterfinal. Mayfield (6-4) was to meet Lakewood St. Edward (10-0) on Saturday night in a Division I, Region 1 quarterfinal.

The Warriors and and Wildcats apparently were bounced from the playoffs before they started because a Cuyahoga County judge ruled in Cleveland Heights' favor in a case involving Cleveland John F. Kennedy's forfeit of its Oct. 18 victory over Cleveland John Adams.

Cleveland JFK forfeited the game because one of its players who participated in the game did not meet the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's academic eligibility.

The OHSAA's standards, however, are not as stringent and the state's governing body for high school sports did not recognize the forfeit.

Cleveland Heights defeated John Adams during the regular season and Edgewood beat Cleveland JFK. A forfeit victory for John Adams would provide enough second-level points for Cleveland Heights to vault ahead of Mayfield into the eighth and final playoff spot in Region 1, and an addition Cleveland JFK loss would strip enough points from Edgewood to drop the Warriors and elevate Beachwood in Region 13.

The OHSAA issued the following statement late this afternoon:

“The OHSAA was notified today of a Cuyahoga County court’s decision to rule in favor of Cleveland Heights regarding the football eligibility of another school, which results in Cleveland Heights receiving enough computer points to earn the eighth and final spot in the Division I, Region 1 playoffs. The OHSAA is working with its legal team and the legal teams of the schools affected by this decision to pursue our next course of action. Because of second-level computer points, the court’s decision has many implications for other teams and regions of the playoffs, which are scheduled to begin Friday night. To be clear, the student-athlete in question at the school which forfeited its game was eligible by all OHSAA standards.”

Brookfield athletic director Tim Taylor told The Vindicator tonight the school district was awaiting the resolution of the case and would proceed accordingly.

Check Friday's Vindicator or for more on this story.

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