NEPA Sports Nation

Gregory suspended 2 more games

By Tom Robinson,

Pittston Area’s Jeff Gregory, last season’s state Class 5A Coach of the Year in girls basketball, will miss two more games, according to punishment doled out by officials from a freshman game Thursday and backed up by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Friday.

Gregory already missed Thursday night’s game after being instructed to leave Wyoming Valley West High School prior to the start of the varsity game. The Lady Patriots, 14-0 to that point, then suffered their first defeat.

Gregory coached for less than two minutes at the freshman game, which in the Wyoming Valley Conference begins the tripleheader with junior varsity and varsity. He took over when Jim Clancy was ejected, leaving the team without a coach.

Following postgame discussions with Gregory at the scorers’ table and in the locker room area, the officiating crew issued him a technical foul, ejection and supplemental two-game suspension for egregious conduct.

“The game officials classified it as supplemental and it was supported by the state,” said Frank Majikes, the District 2 chairman and statewide president of the PIAA Board of Directors.

According to sources, Gregory first learned that penalties were being issued when he was told by a Wyoming Valley West representative that, according to a state-level ruling, he was required to leave the building and could not coach Thursday night’s first-place varsity battle.

According to the supplemental suspension rules, PIAA ruling, Gregory has to sit out Saturday afternoon’s scheduled game at Berwick. The suspension continues through Monday’s game at Crestwood.

Following the officiating crew’s decision, covering all games on all levels Thursday, assistant and JV coach Natalie Winters took over the Pittston Area varsity team for the night.

The PIAA has, in recent years, added to the authority of game officials while still on site after contests end — allowing more leeway for basketball technical fouls, soccer and field hockey cards and other disciplinary decisions that can carry suspensions to be added for actions after contests conclude. The PIAA added the “supplemental” suspension, giving officials a way to issue two-game suspensions instead of one for what they rule as egregious transgressions.

Multiple attempts to reach Pittston Area administrators or athletic officials for comment were unsuccessful.

Majikes said punishment for unsportsmanlike actions may need to become more severe in the future.

“Our board, on the state level is reviewing and studying to add because obviously this is not working as well as we thought because of the number of disqualifications that we have,” Majikes said.

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