A George Washington High golfer has filed a lawsuit in Kanawha County Circuit Court attempting to get the Patriots into next week’s state tournament.
Joseph Kalaskey, listed as Larry J. Kalaskey on court documents, filed the suit Thursday against the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission. Chief Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit will hear the case at 9 a.m. Monday.
According to the suit, Kalaskey claims that the SSAC refused to review the incorrect interpretation of a United States Golf Association rule made by the director of the Class AAA Region 3 golf tournament, held this past Monday at Pipestem Park. He also claimed the SSAC’s refusal to follow that USGA rule was “arbitrary and capricious,” and is seeking a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction to play in the state tournament, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday at Oglebay Park in Wheeling.
The issue, according to the suit, came during a scoring dispute involving a player from Capital High School following that player’s round. In prep golf tournaments, each golfer’s score is kept by a “marker,” another player in the group. On Monday, the Capital player and his marker could not agree on the score of a particular hole.
The third player in the group originally agreed with the marker’s score, but later said he wasn’t certain about what the score should have been. According to the suit, the marker’s mother and the third player’s father both agreed with the marker’s score. The tournament director eventually decided to change the score to the Capital player’s number.
That change in stroke count put Capital in second place at the regional and GW in third by one stroke. The top two teams and top two individuals from non-qualifying teams from each regional tournament earn automatic berths into the state tournament. Greenbrier East finished in first place.
Regional golf tournaments are held under USGA rules and the lawsuit cites Rule 3.3b(1), which states that a player “must not change a hole score entered by the marker except with the marker’s agreement or the committee’s approval...” Kalaskey’s lawsuit claims the tournament director improperly approved the change without the agreement of the marker and without any additional evidence which would support changing the marker’s score.
On Wednesday, according to the suit, Kalaskey was notified that the SSAC would not review the decision. The suit claims that action would be in violation of West Virginia Code 18-2-25, stating that, “the rules and regulations of the West Virginia secondary school activities commission shall contain a provision for a proper review procedure and review board...”
SSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan said that a review of the situation was done on-site and added that other than reviewing ejections, the SSAC does not have power to overturn things such as calls by officials.
“We decided with the interpretation of the official that the contest was decided on-site,” Dolan said. “The only way to bring GW [to the state tournament] was to say that there was a cheating [situation] or something and we didn’t feel that way.”
While Dolan also said adding another team could change the format of the tournament, the lawsuit pointed to the field’s groupings as an easy inroad for the addition of the Patriots. The field is made up of foursomes with the exception of three groups. Since GW’s Anderson Goldman qualified as an individual and is already listed in the pairings, the lawsuit contends that sliding the three other GW players into each of the three threesomes would be an easy fix.
George Washington coach B.J. Calabrese and Capital coach Michael Terry both declined comment. Kalaskey’s father, Larry, said their attorney instructed them not to comment on the suit. George Washington principal George Aulenbacher and attorney Paul M. Stroebel, who is representing Joseph Kalaskey in the suit, could not be reached for comment.