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PIAA puts Conestoga on probation


By Ben Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) placed Conestoga on probation on Wednesday night. According to Conestoga athletic director Kevin Pechin, the probation follows incidents with fan and team behavior at the boys’ soccer state championship game on Nov. 17.

Pechin said that, at the game, fans from Conestoga used “vulgar” language and expressed themselves in an unbecoming manner.

“It (the language) varied in ranges, but it was not representative of Conestoga and how we want our best foot forward,” he said.

A student who was in the student section of the stands at the game and wishes to remain anonymous said that they heard one student use a homophobic slur and saw another student argue with a police officer after the officer told them to sit down.

“I definitely didn’t feel super safe there,” the student said.

Pechin said that the main reason that the PIAA placed Conestoga on probation was that the fans violated the sportsmanship guidelines outlined by the athletic organization. Part of the PIAA’s definition of unsportsmanlike conduct includes a school, team or supporters of the team engaging “in racist, sexist, ethnic and/or religious intimidation, threats, chants and/or attacks.” 

After the boys won the state championship game, some of the members of the team jumped over the fence separating the field from the viewing area, into the crowd. Pechin said that this could have been very dangerous for both the players and members of the crowd. According to Pechin, the boys’ soccer team will undergo an online sportsmanship course.

Under Conestoga’s probation, the PIAA will watch the school closely. If any further incidents arise with Conestoga’s sports teams or fans, the organization could increase the school’s punishments, including disallowing Conestoga from participating in future district or state-level sports competitions. 

“Our athletes work too hard to possibly not have the same experience that they could have. That’s a big price to pay,” Pechin said.

Conestoga will remain on probation for the three following athletic seasons: the current winter season, the upcoming spring season and the 2024 fall season. 

“We just won a state title,” Pechin said. “We should be on Cloud 9. Instead, we have to deal with this.”

Ben Shapiro can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Ben Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief
Ben Shapiro is a senior and the Editor-in-Chief of The Spoke. He has previously served as the Copy Editor and News Editor. He covers local government, including the school board, with a focus on education. Outside of the newsroom, he lobbies for the New Voices Movement, which aims to secure First Amendment rights for student journalists in Pennsylvania, and leads Conestoga’s Speech and Debate and Mock Trial clubs.