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School board speaks on football recruiting investigation

— About 50 community members — residents, parents, coaches, teachers, students — attended the Sept. 20 Skaneateles School Board meeting in hopes of hearing some news about the district’s investigation into allegations of illegal recruiting and false residency concerning a handful of high school football players.

They were not disappointed.

School board president Evan Dreyfuss began the public comment period of the meeting with a brief address concerning the “current events” surrounding the high school football program.

“This board and this administration has not targeted any sports program at all. That is the furthest thing from the truth. We need to be clear that this board has tried from the beginning to be very forthright and completely transparent. This is something we did not take upon ourselves. We were contacted in writing by the New York State [Public High School] Athletic Association and by Section III,” Dreyfuss said.

“I wish we could tell you more, but this is a personnel matter and it involves students and we must protect them,” he said.

In response to a specific question by resident Wendy Ward, Dreyfuss said the allegations that certain football players were illegally recruited by Coach Tim Green started at the end of the 2010-11 school year, at which time an investigation was launched. That investigation has been ongoing since then.

That investigation includes accusations that certain student athletes also were attending the school without being district residents. While the residency issues were not part of the NYSPHSAA and Section III written inquiries, they are still serious allegations that the district is investigating on its own.

District Superintendent Phil D’Angelo said there are typically three to five non-residency investigations in Skaneateles every year. Currently there are eight ongoing, with less than half concerning football players, D’Angelo said.

Many residents said they felt the accusations were the result of bitterness and sour grapes by people who opposed Green’s hiring as coach, and that the new players are nothing more than students (and parents) entering the district to avail themselves of the rare chance to be coached by a former NFL player.

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