Skaneateles The Skaneateles Central School District has decided to appeal its football program suspension to the New York State Appellate Division in Rochester in an attempt to get its varsity team back on the field in time for the Section C championship game this Saturday.
The decision comes one day — and about five hours of school board executive sessions — after a state supreme court judge upheld the Section III suspension of the Lakers for violations of recruitment and undue influence rules.
The appeal paperwork will be filed Thursday, Nov. 3, with the court, said Skaneateles School Superintendent Phil D’Angelo, although no specific date, time or location for a hearing had been scheduled as of 3:30 p.m. today.
The school board members said in a statement that they decided to move forward with an appeal based on four factors: they want to continue to support the student-athletes; they believe the Section III penalty to suspend the football season was too severe under the circumstances; they believe the costs of the appeal “are nominal relative to the potential benefits for our student athletes;” and they want to bring the entire controversy to a close.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the school board stated, “We conducted a fair investigation and gave our report to Section III in an effort to do what was correct and ethical. Infractions by an adult were identified in the report, and we are addressing those internally. We knew that we would receive a penalty, but the penalty that was imposed was way too severe. Our student-athletes are being punished for mistakes made at the program level, and that is simply wrong. We hope our appeal will be successful and, if allowed to participate, we wish our football team good luck.”
D’Angelo said previously that any decision from the appellate court would come in time for the Lakers to know whether or not they will play in the sectional championship game.
If the appeal is successful, the Lakers will go to the Carrier Dome without their head coach, Tim Green, who resigned his position late Tuesday afternoon.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.