The suspension of a central New York high school football team coached by former NFL player Tim Green should stand, a judge ruled today, ending the school’s undefeated season immediately and eliminating it from a shot at a championship.
State Supreme Court Justice Brian DeJoseph said that delaying the suspension against the Skaneateles High School varsity team and allowing it to finish its season would nullify the penalty.
The Lakers were suspended last week for undisclosed recruiting violations, but were allowed to play in the state semifinals on Saturday after getting a temporary restraining order the day before.
DeJoseph’s decision cleared the way for Section III officials to offer Notre Dame High School in Utica a game against Herkimer this Saturday to decide the championship. Notre Dame had been defeated 46-27 by Skaneateles in the semifinal game. If Notre Dame declines, Herkimer will be the champion.
“The student-athletes of Skaneateles are not the only student-athletes who can be affected by this decision,” the judge said in deciding that the district — whose internal investigation found five infractions — had little chance of a successful appeal. He said he also considered the interests of athletes in other “schools that did not violate the rules.”
Local media reported the Skaneateles superintendent said he would poll the school board Tuesday to decide whether to appeal the latest ruling to the Appellate Division, which could issue another stay.
The district argued it has a right to appeal the Section III punishment. Green, who was an All-American at Syracuse and played for the Atlanta Falcons, has denied any wrongdoing. His lawyer has argued the district didn’t fully investigate the recruiting claims before reporting the infractions to section officials.