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Superintendent: Skaneateles football season is over

Section III shuts down undefeated Lakers program

— Section III Athletics has suspended the Skaneateles high school football program from further play in the 2011 season one day before the undefeated Lakers were scheduled to play in the Section C semifinal game against Utica.

The suspension was the result of the school district’s recently submitted investigation report, which found evidence of multiple episodes of illegal recruitment activities by the Skaneateles football coaching staff.

“Our season’s over,” said Skaneateles Superintendent Phil D’Angelo. “Apparently, this was a lot more serious than we thought.”

The Skaneateles CSD was informed of the Section III decision Friday afternoon, Oct. 28, with a letter that declared the Skaneateles football program was “suspended for the remainder of the 2011 season, inclusive of playoff games,” D’Angelo said.

He said he was “trying to negotiate something” with the New York State High School Athletic Association to allow the Lakers to play their Saturday semi-final game.

As of 3 p.m. Friday, he was still negotiating and said the team would not be playing on Saturday.

The suspension decision came after the 60-member Athletic Council of Section III of the state high school sports association met for 90 minutes in an emergency meeting this morning, Oct. 28, to consider the district’s report and the possible penalties to be levied against the football team and the district.

John Rathbun, executive director of Section III Athletics, was not available for comment, his secretary said.

Skaneateles School Board President Evan Dreyfuss confirmed the suspension decision of Section III, but offered no immediate comment. He said an official statement from the school board would be forthcoming.

The Skaneateles CSD completed its investigation report on the illegal recruitment allegations and sent it to Section III for review earlier this week. The six-page report laid out five specific allegations of recruitment that the district determined rose to the level of “knowledge of an infraction” by members of the varsity football coaching staff under the NYSPHAA bylaws.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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