Skaneateles will appeal judge's decision upholding football suspension

Skaneateles football players / file photo

The Skaneateles Central School District will appeal a season-ending suspension for its football team first thing Thursday morning. A judge's decision could come as soon as Thursday afternoon.

The district announced Wednesday afternoon that it will appeal a judge's decision to uphold the punishment handed down by Section III after a report alleging improper recruiting practices. The district is appealing through the New York State Appellate Division.

'"I think absolutely the school should play, I think they are going to have a great deal of emotion but I'm very much for them and on their side. I hope they come out victorious," said Harrison Boyer who lives in Skaneateles.

School officials say the decision was based on four factors. According to the school, those are:

1. We want to continue to support the student-athletes on our football team..

2. The Section III penalty to suspend our football season was far too severe under the circumstances, and it punished the team members and their families who are innocent of any wrongdoing.

3. The costs of the appeal are nominal relative to the potential benefits for our student-athletes.

4. We want to bring closure to this disruptive controversy.

The district released a statement saying: "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."

'We are all proud of the kids, so we all hope they get to play, or at least I hope they do," said Audrey Grant. "Kids can often get caught in the middle of what adults cause."

Shortly after the court upheld the Section III punishment, head coach Tim Green submitted his resignation to the school board. In the letter Green encouraged the school board to pursue an appeal of the lower court's decision that allowed the Section III punishment to stand. Green also wrote that he hopes "Section III will regard my resignation as a resolution to this entire matter and will allow the forty players who, indisputably, had no role in this matter whatsoever, and who have unquestionably earned their right to be on the playing field this Saturday to participate in this weekend's game."

"When I heard about the resignation it really just made me quite sad to be honest," said Bunny McLaud. "I just applaud all of those players and what they have done because they've done an outstanding job, and now we will have to just wait and see what happens."

Meanwhile, the Utica Notre Dame football team practiced Wednesday. The team lost to Skaneateles last weekend, but if Skaneateles is not allowed to play in the Section III championship this Saturday, Utica Notre Dame will face Herkimer.

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