Athletics Director Ken Still said it’s too late for Fenway High slugger Luis Melo to appeal the decision that he’s too old to play.
The 20-year-old senior first baseman who hit a walk-off home run on April 27 to beat Charlestown, was alerted on Monday that he’s ineligible.
MIAA rules state that players older than 19 can compete as long as their birthday occurs on or after Sept. 1 of that year. Melo, who turned 20 in February, said his paperwork was submitted to BPS before the season. But Still said it’s too late in the season to appeal to the MIAA for a waiver.
“You have to do that at the beginning of the year,” Still said.
While Melo said his paperwork was in at the beginning of the season, Still said Fenway should’ve known to file for a waiver with the MIAA before the season.
“They knew I was 20 but let me play until today,” Melo, who repeated the first and third grades, said while sitting out Fenway’s victory against Dorchester on Monday.
Fenway coach Kevin Grogan appealed to Still on Tuesday.
“If he says he can’t play he can’t play,” Grogan said on Monday. “He’ll be my assistant coach. He’s a good kid. I like him. I want him to stick around.”
Melo hopes to play for Bunker Hill Community College in the fall.
“The thing I’m most upset about is other people get away with it,” Melo said.
Still said it’s difficult to police but he’ll investigate a situation if it’s brought to his attention. He said his department catches about 10 to 15 similar cases each year.
“Every situation for us is different,” he said. “We have over 5,000 kids. [We] do a good job but of course there’s slippage. We got coaches putting down the wrong dates, cheating of course, and coaches who forget.
“Since I’ve been on the job we’ve been able to pay a little closer attention to it. You don’t know what a headache it is with people who fight it. Coaches want people to play and they try to find little wrinkles. So it’s not as easy as people think it is.”