School is In: The Lakers, unfortunately, are out

— It was not a particularly good week for education.  As happens all too often, adult behavior has intruded on the education of young people.

It is not news that over a considerable (season-long, at least) period, the Skaneateles school district investigated accusations of improper recruiting practices undertaken by members of its coaching staff.  The district made what seemed a sincere effort to police itself, and the investigation resulted in the submission of a report to Section III, the governing body of local high school athletics. That report verified improper practices by members of the coaching staff. Section III officials then imposed what was considered an appropriate penalty on the school’s football team, which was suspending them from the Section III playoffs. 

The whole thing seems fairly simple.  Student-athletes from a number of school districts were put in the position of being adversely affected by the actions of  adults.  Someone is guilty of causing it, admits it, and is penalized. Certainly a good lesson for young people to learn.

But — not so fast.  The school district decided that even though it admitted to violations, it was dismayed by the penalty and sought recourse in the courts, claiming that by doing so, it was acting in the best interest of the players. 

“We will be heard,” the district’s superintendent, said Skaneateles Superintendent Philip D’Angelo  in The Wall Street Journal. “Part of our whole plea is that if we miss a game, it’s irreparable damage, and you can’t go back once you’ve missed a game. We need to be heard. We think the penalty was excessive. Did we identify infractions? Certainly. We thought probation was the appropriate punishment.”

The district was granted a “stay of execution” to play another game, which it won.  Then, their appeal was denied, and they were once again removed from the playoffs.  Their coach resigned, claiming that too was in the best interests of the players.  Citing, once again, the best interests of the student-athletes, the district appealed once more — an appeal that was, on Thursday, also denied.  Thus ended the season — a season that featured exceptional performance and achievement by the players and a shameful performance by the people in charge of them on all levels.

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sadaboutallthis 4 years, 3 months ago

I don't know if anyone will even notice my entred comment however, I've been reading all the opinionated editorials and discussion blogs back and forth with deeper and deeper sadness for what all this says about us as members of the Skaneateles community but also as citzens of the world.

In many if not most of the comments, it seems people are polarized and staking camp on one side or the other of who is right and who is wrong and worse....in so doing, have given up the ability and/or wilingness to see the complexity or multiple perspectives of this situation.

The reality is, the situation discussed ad-naseaum could have been handled with much more tact and internal accountablity thus preventing hard-ache amongst many hard working student athletes, division amongst a community, and validation of our reputation by neighbors near and far that we do indeed function from a sense of elitism and closed-mindedness.

In light of what has come to light at UPenn this week, can't we see how out of proportion the accusations and penalites related to the reported "infractions" involving our football program seem now? How valuable hindsight is! However, if we can learn from this experience and approach the next ethical dilemma we are presented with that much more rational intelligence and constitution, perhaps we can prevent a reoccurence of the situation we now find ourselves in.

No matter how much the writers and editors and bloggers of this small town paper believe they have a handle on the psychology of how and why the events of the last several months have occurred the way they did, it is not as simple or straigtforward or biased as they have presented the "facts". For example, despite editorial prouncements, unfortunately this event is far from healed or over. For the sake of the students and teachers....and BOE members, I sincerely wish it was - however, the reality is, deep wounds on both sides of this controversy remain. I hope all of the parties involved (that is - the coaches, BOE, parents, community at large....AND media...) examine their part in making this as horrendous and painful and unresolved as it is.

Like several people have mentioned, I believe the greatest causalities of how this has been handled lies with the football players and their classmates. They have learned some very harsh and unneccessary lessons. I would think sincere aplogies for the trauma of the drama allowed to ensue would go a long way to teach our children that we can be human but also accountable.

Perhaps that admission and level of honesty would be a place for healing to begin.


concernedcitizen 4 years, 3 months ago

AMEN! I feel the voice of concern has been completely squelched by the "old timer" who present their point of views as bullys! this is not healed and many of us feel like our concern can not be voiced!

the truth is, many people feel this situation should have been handled diffently. hopefully in the future, it will be!


geturfactsstraightplease 4 years, 3 months ago

Penn State (University) is not UPENN (University of Pennsylvania)...Details like this matter..especially with the recent events you are referring to...please be careful.


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