Sec­tion VI takes away Lafayette soc­cer wins

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS - By Miguel Ro­driguez NEWS SPORTS RE­PORTER

Lafayette has been forced by Sec­tion VI to for­feit all of its boys soc­cer wins, but the Mighty Vi­o­lets will re­main at least co-cham­pi­ons of the Buf­falo Pub­lic Schools league be­cause it’s a ti­tle they earned through com­pe­ti­tion on the field, ac­cord­ing to district ath­letic di­rec­tor Aubrey Lloyd.

Lloyd said Thurs­day that Lafayette ath­letes won’t be pe­nal­ized for what he called a pa­per­work is­sue by the district that im­pacted the el­i­gi­bil­ity of an un­known num­ber of play­ers on the team.

The el­i­gi­bil­ity prob­lem is a merger that wasn’t ap­proved by Sec­tion VI that has re­sulted in the team be­ing stripped of all its vic­to­ries (nine) and power points used to de­ter­mine seed­ing for the com­ing Sec­tion VI Tour­na­ment.

“Did the district, did we drop the ball on this one?” Lloyd said. “We’re go­ing to do ev­ery­thing in our power to fix it.”

Ac­cord­ing to an email ob­tained Thurs­day by The News, the Mighty Vi­o­lets, who as of Wed­nes­day had a 9-3-2 over­all record, con­sisted of play­ers who not only at­tend Lafayette High School but also stu­dents who at­tend a school housed within the same build­ing called New­com­ers Academy of Lafayette.

Ac­cord­ing to the email sent by Sec­tion VI Boys Soc­cer Chair­man Todd Mar­quardt to area coaches: “The Sec­tion VI Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee de­nied Lafayette and Lafayette New­com­ers com­bin­ing of schools ap­pli­ca­tion. There­fore, Lafayette will par­tic­i­pate in Class D as orig­i­nally sched­uled.”

Mar­quardt did not re­turn mes­sages left for him.

Lloyd has al­ready 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.”

New­com­ers Academy is a school for youths who re­cently ar­rived in the United States who are still learn­ing the English lan­guage. There is also a third school housed within the build­ing called Lafayette In­ter­na­tional, which was cre­ated to re­place old Lafayette High School, which is still be­ing phased out, ac­cord­ing to district spokesper­son Elena Cala.

The en­roll­ment num­ber be­ing as­signed to New­com­ers ap­pears to have changed what Lafayette had been able to do in the past with ath­letes in that pro­gram. New­com­ers Academy at Lafayette re­ceived an en­roll­ment BED num­ber for the first time in Jan­uary, roughly two months af­ter the dead­line for schools to sub­mit BED num­bers to Sec­tion VI for size clas­si­fi­ca­tion for the 2017 fall sea­son.

Lloyd, who over­sees ath­let­ics for the sec­ond largest school district in the state, said he didn’t know there were any po­ten­tial el­i­gi­bil­ity is­sues with the team un­til Sec­tion VI con­tacted him a month ago.

Lloyd said he asked Vi­o­lets coach Brad Brod­nicki for a ros­ter, and at that point re­al­ized the team had play­ers from New­com­ers. Af­ter re­port­ing it to the sec­tion, he was in­formed he needed to sub­mit a com­bined pro­gram ap­pli­ca­tion to the sec­tion.

“My coach is a good coach,” Lloyd said. “This was not a ma­li­cious in­tent by him. This was not a ma­li­cious in­tent by the district. It was a pa­per­work snafu.”

The play­ers from New­com­ers Academy won’t be al­lowed to play with the team dur­ing the ap­peals process. Lloyd said Lafayette will have about 15 play­ers for sec­tion­als.

As a re­sult of the non-ap­proved merger, Lafayette falls back into Class D af­ter be­ing bumped up to Class C.

The Mighty Vi­o­lets’ reg­u­larsea­son fi­nale against River­side on Thurs­day was post­poned. The makeup date is un­known.

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