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School board speaks on football recruiting investigation

— Resident Patty Lindgren said the issue seemed to be mostly gossip and rumors and heatedly asked the board, “how long do you listen to hearsay before you say enough?”

Dreyfuss said the investigation is about “specific allegations based on facts,” and later called them “pretty serious facts” that the district was compelled to investigate.

He also said that the NYSPHSAA and Section III issue was a recruiting issue and not a residency issue — or as everyone at the meeting said many times: it’s about the adults and not about the kids.

As the meeting — which lasted about 45 minutes — continued, audience members raised concerns about the cost to the district of the investigation, the projected conclusion date of the investigation, and the stress and mental toll this was taking on the entire football team and other students.

Also broached was the issue of race, since three of the four football players involved are African American, and Skaneateles is a district with historically low numbers of minority students.

Board member Kate Coggswell said of the race issue, “That is offensive, I think, to everybody.”

Resident Nancy Lewis said, “To turn this [issue] into one of race — now I’m getting angry.”

Dreyfuss said the board had expected to resolve the recruiting investigation by about Monday, Sept. 19, but new facts were brought out two days previous that necessitated further investigation.

He said the board hopes to resolve the issue this week. “We don’t want this to carry on any longer than is necessary — it’s divisive, it’s distracting,” he said.

D’Angelo said it is not only Skaneateles residents who have made allegations of wrongdoing, but people in other CNY football programs as well. His fear, he added, is that new allegations will continue to come out despite the district’s closing of the investigation — especially since the team is now 3-0 and ranked fifth in the state.

“The better our team does, the more people come out of the woodwork to report,” he said. “Anyone with information should have come forward by now, but this is the concern I have. The more comprehensive our report, the better it will sit with Section III.”

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

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