Some will look at the Regina girls basketball team’s
ouster from the state tournament due to an ineligible player and laugh.
There are others who will say, “I told you so.” Still others will say
it’s a fitting end to the program. And who can blame any of them. The Royals are a jester right now.
There are some who will look at the Regina girls basketball team’s ouster from the state tournament due to an ineligible player and laugh. There are others who will say, “I told you so.” Still others will say it’s a fitting end to the program. And who can blame any of them.
The Royals are a jester right now.
When the decision became official Thursday that the Ohio High School Athletic Association was forcing Regina to forfeit all games and a sectional tournament game – meaning their postseason run was over – you could almost sense a collective breath coming from across the state that said: “I knew it.” And that’s the edited version.
Regina was found guilty of violating bylaws regarding students from foreign countries and a lack of monitoring the school’s compliance with OHSAA bylaws and sports regulation.
For years I’ve been going to Ohio state tournaments in all sports and the key to becoming a public enemy at any of them is a general feel of wrong doing, unfair play and arrogance. Parochial schools commonly suffer from this treatment, but public schools are not immune to it. One of the most hated teams I’ve seen at any state tournament was the North College Hill boys basketball outfits that included O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker. Even in games where it displayed unworldly basketball ability, NCH was booed because of its elitist aura and the perception of overall shady behavior.
Regina, though, was the worst.
No team I’ve ever covered, watched or interviewed carried the stigma like that program did. And it was self-created…mostly by its coach.
There’s no doubting Pat Diulus is a great high school girls basketball coach, however many will argue how he got that greatness. No coach in Ohio history has more state titles than Diulus. None have his baggage either.
Diulus began his legacy – and recruiting rumors – at Garfield Heights Trinity where he led the Trojans to state titles in 1990, 1994 and 1996. In 1998 Diulus left the school abruptly when told he was being re-assigned from his head basketball post. Five days later –with four starters and 14 total players in tow – Diulus ended up at Regina.
Six state titles and seven state berths later he’s exiting again – but not by choice.
Regina High School is shutting its doors after this year due to financial troubles. That being said, this was supposed to be the Royals swan song. One last hurrah. Instead it’s one last ha-ha.
There are several things about this story that make you scratch your head.
The first is Regina’s flat out ignorance of OHSAA bylaws and total disregard for following them.
On the same day that the OHSAA handed out less serious sanctions to Huber Heights Wayne’s boys team for ineligible players after several days of deliberation, it took the state’s governing body roughly 24 hours to find Regina guilty.
The Royals were also investigated by the OHSAA during last year’s state tournament. No sanctions were found then, unlike this search.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the OHSAA received an anonymous mailing on Wednesday. After a conference call with school administrators on Thursday the OHSAA had enough info to make the call. The violations had to be pretty obvious and blatant to warrant such a swift process.
“School administrations have monitoring responsibilities,” OHSAA commissioner Dan Ross old the Plain Dealer. “Those responsibilities weren’t done in the case of Regina. All the procedures to make the student-athlete eligible in the state of Ohio weren’t done, along with some other residency issues.”
Diulus is no stranger to missing paperwork – he’s currently facing charges in Cuyahoga County for running charitable bingo games without a proper license. That case is scheduled to be presented to a county grand jury to determine if charges are warranted.
In the meantime, one question is will Diulus coach again? And if so where at? John Calipari has a job, so you assume Diulus will too.
That being said, another question is if he is hired by another district, will that administration have a tighter leash? Obviously there were mistakes by those in charge at Regina – mostly in regards to accountability. Did we mention Diulus is also the athletic director?
Diulus told the Plain Dealer he plans to coach next year, but would not say what his exact plans are. He also told the paper that: “I would think if I take a [coaching] job somewhere, and it’s reasonable and everything matches up, 10-15 of our players will follow.”
Nothing like a little self-promotion. Anyone want a state championship? Sounds like one could be for sale.
Overall, the Royals did the parochial community no favors on their way out either.
In an era where the “private vs. public” debate continually rages, Regina just gave opponents of separate state tournaments a louder voice.
Perhaps cushioning the blow for the Royals, somewhat, is the regularity with which this type of offense seems to happen though. This school year alone there have been several instances where teams – and ones with state title hopes – have been defeated by bylaws and improper paperwork. Consider, due to ineligible player sanctions:
– The Dayton Thurgood Marshall and Cleveland Heights football teams were each stripped of three wins and playoff berths;
– Dayton Jefferson’s boys basketball team – the No. 1 team in the JJHuddle D-IV Power Poll – lost five victories; and…
– Taking the cake, Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown had to return its D-II girls soccer state championship.
Two years ago, Kettering Alter’s football team was stripped of two wins for the same reason as well. Regardless, the Knights won the state title.
“We’ve always said that the foundation of the OHSAA is based on the integrity of its members,” Ross said. “…this situation is a real disappointment.”