Leading off today:
You don't have to "trust the process," a phrase that's achieved cliche status in the world of sports in a short period of time, but you have to at least follow the process.
That didn't happen earlier this year, and it's come back to haunt the state's fourth-ranked boys Class C soccer team. Lafayette High in Buffalo, 9-3-2 at the start of the day, forfeited all of its games Wednesday when the Section 6 Executive Committee denied a long-past-the-deadline request by Lafayette and Newcomers Academy of Lafayette to combine schools in the sport.
Lafayette, now officially 0-15, will be able to compete in the seven-team Section 6 Class D tournament this month minus five players from Newcomers Academy. In addition, the Buffalo Public Schools league will recognize Lafayette as its champion, district athletic director Aubrey Lloyd told The Buffalo News.
The application to field a combined team should have been submitted to the league and then the section in March. The Mighty Violets have been playing in Class C with a roster comprised of players for Lafayette High and a school housed within the same building called Newcomers Academy of Lafayette.
Lloyd told the paper he has contacted the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association to initiate the appeals process. "Students were on the team last year, they were part of the Lafayette school," Lloyd said. "I hope the state does not penalize students because adults didn't submit paperwork."
Part of the problem stems from bureaucratic (sorry, boys and girls, but I have to use a bad word now) bull**** on the part of large school districts like those in Buffalo and Rochester. Those districts engage in all sorts of gymnastics involving the renaming of schools and the creation of "schools within a school" in which a single building houses multiple programs.
The Buffalo district is now involved in a restructuring that allegedly will improve the educational process by phasing out the Lafayette High name and rebranding it as Lafayette International School. A year ago, Lafayette was a single entity with a BEDS figure of 311. This fall, Lafayette was broken into the high school (BEDS number of 138), Newcomers Academy (168) and Lafayette International School (106).
As such, it should have applied for combined team status, as is done by literally hundreds of teams across the state each year. In fact, any or all of those three schools within a school could have combined with other schools in Erie County to field teams in any sport, which is a significant reason why the section need to know in advance.
The boys soccer committee moved Lafayette from Class D to C on Sept. 21 based upon the realization that they had been using players from two schools, but that raised red flags from soccer observers and turned it into a matter for the Executive Committee to address.
"We've been flexible where we could be flexible because sometimes schools don't know until right before the start of a