Leading off today:
Center Moriches will be unable to compete in the Section 11 girls soccer tournament this month because the team scheduled more than the 16 regular-season games allowed under New York State Public High School Athletic Association rules.
Tom Combs, the executive director of Section 11, told Newsday the school self-reported the infraction in mid-September after realizing that a Sept. 1 non-league loss to Eastport-South Manor coupled with a full League VII schedule would put the team over the limit. The team is 11-4 in its league with its final game scheduled for Tuesday at Babylon.
Center Moriches has already lost two appeals to Section 11 and will present their case to the NYSPHSAA on Monday, Combs said.
Center Moriches AD Jeremy Thode did not respond to requests for comment, the paper said.
"It sounds almost ridiculous but if the athletic director can't count to 16 and see that we're overcommitted before the season starts," said Renee Passaro, who has a daughter on the team. "I mean, that's just basic counting."
Such glitches are surprisingly common despite the fact that sport-by-spot maximums were clearly spelled out in tabular format in the NYSPHSAA Handbook until this past summer. The maximum was even easier to ascertain after the NYSPHSAA reworked the handbook in August to give each sport its own section.
In 2011, the girls lacrosse coaches at Babylon and Sayville were suspended for the remainder of their season for scheduling too many games, though the teams remained eligible for sectionals.
In the fall of that same year, the Holland girls soccer team exceeded the limit on regular season games and was ruled ineligible for the Section 6 tournament.
Fayetteville-Manlius saw its playoff hopes foiled by a similar infraction in 2013.
Last winter, Clarkstown's boys bowling team had to sit out the Section 1 tournament when what was intended to be an exhibition alongside a match inadvertently put that team over the limit.
Too loud to coach? First-year Somers field hockey coach Marq Mellor was fired Tuesday in the culmination of what one of his player's parents termed a "modern-day witch-hunt," The Journal News reported.
Mellor and supporters asserted that a small group of parents bullied the school district into dismissing him in a dispute over playing time, the coach's criticism of performances and related factors. Mellor, former U.S. Men's National field hockey team captain with coaching experience at two other Section 1 schools, said those parents "claimed I was too loud, too critical and some players were embarrassed I pointed out their mistakes."
He added: "Maybe I was tough, but I was open and honest."
Somers AD Roman Catalino declined to comment Friday other than to say, "In the interest of everyone involved, we moved forward with the situation."
Mellor said he was previously suspended three games while the district investigated complaints lodged by parents of five players. He was reinstated Oct. 2.
Mellor showed The Journal News reporter a text he said he received from a parent. It reads, "It's not about the captainship a-h---. You're a cancer and an embarrassment to