Famous coach’s resignation can’t save school’s perfect season

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The sacrificial resignation of its famous coach couldn't save the undefeated football season of Skaneateles (N.Y.) Central High, as the New York State Supreme Court upheld a season-ending suspension imposed by the New York Public High School Athletic Association's Section III Athletic Council because of alleged illegal recruiting by the school's then head coach.

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Skaneateles football coach and former NFL linebacker Tim Green in action

Skaneateles football coach and former NFL linebacker Tim Green in action

As reported by the Associated Press, the Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court ruled that the season-ending suspension handed down by the Section III Athletic Council, which bans the team from participating in Saturday's Sectional Championship football game, was justly instituted.

That officially ended a long appeals process launched by the school district shortly after the initial penalty -- which was tied to alleged recruiting practices by former NFL and NCAA All American linebacker Tim Green -- was handed down. In the meantime, a court injunction had allowed Skaneateles to continue competing in the sectional playoffs, with the Lakers defeating Utica (N.Y.) Notre Dame School, 46-27 in the sectional semifinals.

Now Notre Dame will play Herkimer (N.Y.) High for the sectional title on Saturday while Skaneateles will be forced to watch the remainder of the playoffs from the stands.

"It was the right decision. It was a law decision and sometimes that's difficult," John McGowan, attorney for Section III, told the AP. "There's no joy in this. Nobody wants to take kids off the field. These are young athletes who have done their very best.

"It's what the rules are. It's a matter of upholding the integrity of the system. It has to be done, and it's done."

Green resigned on Tuesday with the case headed toward the State Supreme Court in what was generally seen as an attempt to salvage the team's undefeated campaign at his own expense. He has maintained that he did nothing wrong despite the Section III findings which alleged he actively recruited players from other schools to compete for the Lakers.

For its part, the Skaneateles school district said that it would move on after the ruling, letting it stand as a final judgement on a contentious saga that now officially ends a controversial undefeated football season at the Syracuse-area school.

"The judge denied our appeal, so at this point our season has ended," Skaneateles school superintendent Philip D'Angelo said outside the court. "We had a fabulous season, 9-0. Our student-athletes did a tremendous job. We're very, very proud of them. They're ending their season as winners. We appreciate that. This has nothing to do with them."

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