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Friday, Sept. 6, 2019: S-WR football coach sidelined during investigation

   Leading off today: Second-year Shoreham-Wading River football coach Aden Smith has been removed from his position while the district investigates an incident during a scrimmage last weekend, district Superintendent Gerard Poole told Newsday.

   "The district is currently investigating an incident involving the varsity football team's head coach," Poole said in a statement. "The incident took place during a scrimmage against Islip on Aug. 30, 2019. While this investigation is underway, the head coach has been removed and the current assistant coaches will be leading the team."

   The superintendent did not provide details about the nature of the incident. Islip Superintendent Ellen Semel said in a statement that a "brief scuffle took place among several players" and that the school was investigating.

   Smith, who is a teacher in the Longwood district, did not return messages seeking comment, the newspaper reported.

   Shoreham-Wading River opens its season Friday vs. Bayport-Blue Point.

   Oswego suspends season: Oswego suspended its varsity football season because it doesn't have enough players, district officials announced Thursday.

   Oswego was scheduled to open Saturday vs. Westmoreland/Oriskany. The modified football season will continue.

   Oswego submitted a roster of 24 students to Syracuse.com earlier in the week.

   The team finished 0-9 last season in the Section 3 developmental league for struggling programs.

   Quite a double: File this name away for future reference. Eden eighth-grader Elle Noecker broke two school records in a 117-68 girls swimming loss to Hamburg on Thursday by absolutely obliterating the old marks.

   Noecker finished the 200-yard individual medley in 2:14.19, beating the 2:18.38 set by Marissa Kordal, who now swims for SUNY Cortland. She then broke a 19-year-old mark in the 100 backstroke with a 1:00.52 clocking, surpassing the 1:03.48 by Megan Collins.

   East star ineligible: All-state football player Seven McGee has been ruled ineligible for his junior season at Rochester East, the school disclosed Friday.

   McGee was fourth-team all-state in Class A last season and is rated as one the nation's leading running back prospects in his class by some services.

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   It seemed inevitable that McGee might run into eligibility obstacles at some point. When the nomadic teen told the Democrat and Chronicle in May that he would be returning to Section 5 from California, it meant he was heading for his fourth transfer in less than two years. His preceding transfer came halfway through his sophomore basketball season.

   East Superintendent Shaun Nelms indicated missing paperwork from Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California, was the culprit behind Thursday's ruling by Section 5 and said the East staff is holding out hope that McGee will win an appeal.

   According to Nelms, Section 5 needed documentation that McGee attended Narbonne, a school that reportedly has been under investigation for possible academic misconduct

  
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and has reassigned several administrators.

   "We're asking and requesting information from a school, where technically those involved are no longer there or have been reassigned," Nelms said. "So Seven is at the mercy of a school which he left. He was there literally for two months, it might've been 50 days or so."

   Nelms said East provided testimony and social media postings from McGee's account to try to verify he actually attended Narbonne.

   Said Section 5 Exec- utive Director Kathy Hoyt: "Section 5 is responsible for making eligibility rulings that are consis- tent, fair and equitable for all students who par- ticipate in interscholastic athletics. Rulings are made based upon information provided by the member school. It is imperative for appropriate information to be provided to our panel to ensure all students are treated in a fair manner."

   An observation: Nelms held a news conference Friday to discuss the eligibility ruling and some of his assertions qualified as iffy.

   Namely:

    • Sidelining a player based on a lack of paperwork from his former school is uncommon.

    • "He's being held to the standard that is much greater than student-athletes have been held to in this community for a long time."

    • "For the section to make a decision like this, it just seems really misguided and unfair."

    • "[I]f Seven wanted to play football tomorrow he could transfer to Buffalo or a non-public school and probably play within a week or two."

    • "Decisions are being made for our kids in the city by individuals who often don't understand what our kids go through just to be able to get onto the football field."

   I won't dissect these point by point, but I will say playing the "individuals who often don't understand what our kids go through" card is disgusting. It's a fact that minorities are under-represented on most if not all sectional athletic or executive councils across the NYSPHSAA, but the individuals who do serve in those roles and rule on appeals are certainly capable of empathy.

   As a bonus (and more to the point), they're all reasonably capable of reading a rule book.


  
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