Dunbar back in the OHSAA Tournament, will play Fenwick Wednesday

Dunbar is back in the OHSAA tournament, will play Bishop Fenwick. (WKEF/WRGT)

COLUMBUS (WKEF/WRGT) -- The Dunbar boys basketball team is back in the Ohio High School Athletic Association high school basketball tournament.

Dunbar originally was forced to forfeit its game against Thurgood Marshall and eliminated from the OHSAA Tournament but now Judge Michael W. Krumholtz has ruled the Wolverines can get back into the postseason to play Fenwick Wednesday night at UD Arena.

Here is the Judge's conclusion in the case:

"The fate of the Dunbar Varsity Boys’ Basketball team in this year’s OHSAA state tournament should be decided on the court and not in the courthouse. Accordingly, the Court hereby GRANTS Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction. The Ohio High School Athletic Association (“OHSAA”) is enjoined and precluded from enforcing its February 28, 2018 Decision, which held that the Dunbar High School Boys’ Varsity Basketball team had forfeited its participation in the ongoing OHSAA state basketball tournament. Further, the Dunbar High School Boys’ Varsity Basketball team is entitled to participate, and shall be permitted to participate, in the 2018 OHSAA state boys’ basketball tournament beginning with tomorrow’s game against Bishop Fenwick."

On January 10, the junior varsity teams for Dunbar and Thurgood Marshall got into a massive brawl on court that also included fans. The fight stemmed from an aggressive foul on the court. According to OHSAA rules anyone who leaves the court during an altercation is subject to a two-game suspension. Dayton Public Schools (DPS) chose to suspend the two players who were involved in the fight, but not those who came off the bench. The lawsuit centers around one player who plays on both junior varsity and varsity. Without serving the two game suspension, OHSAA said he was ineligible, but DPS argued in court that it was not clear whether he left the bench, or was even on the bench at all before the fight began. That player competed for Dunbar in an earlier postseason game against West Carrollton. Under OHSAA rules, any team that plays an ineligible player must forfeit the game.

Dunbar Head Varsity Basketball Coach Chuck Taylor testified that he saw the boy in the hall way as he was running out from the varsity locker room to stop the fight on court.

"I know when I passed him by, I'm the one that cussed at him," Taylor said in court.

OHSAA and their attorney argued that all players left the bunch, and said they saw 13 players on court during a video of the brawl. The video was played in court. Dunbar has five starters and eight bench players.

DPS and their attorney called the video inconclusive, and said it's too hard to make out individual numbers, so they can't say for certain if that player was on the court during the altercation. The video also shows six bench seats, not the full eight.

OHSAA rep Jerry Snodgrass made it very clear in his testimony and said, "There are no exceptions granted for leaving the bench," even if that's to stop the fight.

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