The Revere High School (RHS) hockey team – which was likely bound for the state tournament in only the second year for Head Coach Joe Ciccarello – is on the verge of having to forfeit all of its eight wins due to a paperwork snafu for one of the team’s best players – who was a fifth-year senior unbeknownst to many in the school.
Superintendent Paul Dakin and Athletic Director Shaun Hart confirmed that the team was found to have an ineligible player – Brandon Mastropietro – last Friday and self-reported the potential violation to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletics Association (MIAA). The end result was not known by press time, and the entire situation was in flux Tuesday, but the schools believed that they would have to forfeit the team’s six wins and two ties.
The team hasn’t played since last Wednesday due to weather-related cancellations last Saturday and today, Jan. 22, and sat at 6-3-2. While previous years have been a little bit lean in the historic program’s history, this year had been a ray of hope for players, parents and new Coach Ciccarello. All that could be wiped out due to a technical glitch in the system.
Dakin and Hart indicated they found out the problem last Friday via a total coincidence and decided to be up front and report it. On Tuesday, the MIAA was hearing an expedited appeal that would allow Mastropietro to play for the rest of the season, and that appeal was approved late on Tuesday afternoon. So, he is now an active player in good standing. However, following that appeal, the school had to notify all opponents of the intent to forfeit all wins and ties. There is also, at the same time, an appeal being entered by the schools to reinstate those wins and ties – thus allowing the team to advance to the state tournament if it qualifies.
“We found out and we reported it,” Hart said. “It’s not listed anywhere in our system. I don’t want to say it was a clerical error. Simply put, in our system it says he is a 12th grader, his grades are fine and he has a physical. That’s all you need to play sports. No place in our system is it listed that he is in his fifth year here. That would be available on his transcript. That’s something a guidance counselor would have access to and look at, but not me.”
Said Dakin, “The team will have to forfeit the games and it would only be an appeal process that will return those games to their record. Shaun did not dodge the situation. Deep down, I look at it and see it’s a paperwork issue. We were honest about it and upfront. Maybe that will count for something. Why should some paperwork screw up the kids when it’s only a bureaucratic malfunction of record keeping that made the problems.”
Apparently, the player began high school on a bad note – having several medical issues that prevented him from being able to attend school on a regular basis. That said, he began anew as a freshman for the second time during the following year. Fast forward four years later, and this year during hockey season, he turned 19 and was technically in his fifth year at the high school, and even though he had only played four years of hockey, he was in violation of an MIAA rule. It’s a controversial rule and one that is easily overruled by a waiver process. However, no one was aware, apparently, that he needed a waiver because few of the decision makers had been around five years ago.
“When you look deeper as to why there was no waiver and no one knew about this, you have to look at the fact that there’s a second-year coach, a fourth-year athletic director and a fourth-year principal,” said Dakin. “None of them were here five years ago when the young man first enrolled. It’s a combination of them not being around back then and those having the institutional knowledge of this not brining it up.”
Leaders said they found out last Friday after Mastropietro and seven other hockey players volunteered to conduct a ‘Learn to Skate’ program for students at the McKinley School. In order to conduct that class, the students had to be excused from classes.
When that communication went over to RHS administrators, that’s when one administrator realized that there might be a problem with Mastropietro.
When it was confirmed, Hart informed the MIAA.
The future of the team is now in that administrative body’s hands.