Leading off today:
Most of the news in New York high school sports on Monday took place off the field. And most of it was bad.
Out of the running: Putnam Valley and Yonkers Saunders have been knocked out of the Section 1 girls volleyball tournament before it even begins, falling victim to a scheduling error that seems to happen somewhere in the state every year despite consistent cautionary warnings from the NYSPHSAA.
According to The Journal News, the schools exceeded the maximum number of regular-season contests. Putnam Valley played 22 contests and Saunders participated in 20 head-to-head matches as well as the Yonkers City Tournament.
Class A Saunders was 9-11. Class B Putnam Valley had a winning record and was expected to be seeded in the top five.
The relevant rule in the NYSPHSAA Handbook is Standard 19(c):
"If an individual or team exceeds the maximum number of contests permitted, the penalty is team ineligibility from the date of violation for the rest of the season."
The same rule knocked undefeated Lake George out of the Section 2 Class D girls volleyball tournament last fall. That instance, on the heels of similar lapses by various teams in other sports in recent years, led the New York State Public High School Athletic Association to consider alternative punishments that would have allowed teams to continue playing. The NYSPHSAA Central Committee rejected the proposal 27-20 in July, with Section 1 casting its four votes to keep the rule as is.
In addition, the rule regarding the maximum number of games is highlighted each year in mandatory meetings the NYSPHSAA holds for all athletic directors.
Middletown forfeits wins: Unbeaten Middletown has forfeited four football victories over the use of an ineligible player.
The Section 9 Athletic Council confirmed the penalty Monday after Middletown self-reported the violation last week, The Times Herald-Record reported.
The player was a reserve who already exceeded the 19-year-old age limit when he transferred into the school this year. In addition, he had already exhausted his four years of eligibility from the start of his freshman year.
"It fell through several layers of eligibility review in the district," Middletown AD David Coates said.
Middletown, ranked 17th last week by the New York State Sportswriters Association, has a showdown with five-time defending sectional champion Newburgh Free Academy on Friday to complete the regular season. Now, the team is on the bubble for a Section 9 playoff berth.