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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin judge has ruled that Shorewood/Milwaukee Messmer's football team can play in the high school playoffs this year.
Playoff brackets for the Division 1 and 2 teams are expected to be released later Tuesday, following the judge's ruling earlier in the day.
The school's inclusion had been challenged by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, which oversees Wisconsin high school sports. WIAA had ruled the team ineligible because it's in the fourth and final year of a playoff ban on teams that drop out of their conferences.
The school left the Woodland Conference in 2007. But it said it should be eligible because it joined the Midwest Classic Conference this season.
WIAA executive director Dave Anderson says he doesn't agree with the decision but the group will abide by it.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
The following statement was today released by Brother Bob Smith, president and CEO of Messmer Catholic Schools, on behalf of the joint Messmer/Shorewood High School football team.
"We are pleased with Judge Marten's decision. It is a really important decision for the kids on our team who have worked hard all season, on and off the field.
"Judge Marten confirmed that under the WIAA rule, our team earned the right to play in the playoffs this year. This decision reinforces the importance of applying the rules fairly and consistently across the board.
"This process and decision reinforces for the students that the rules matter. They can now focus on their challenge on the field. Win or lose, they've been given the chance to compete. That's all any team can ask."