If you think only college players get preferential treatment, you may wanna read this. How do we hold these schools accountable?


2 Responses to “If you think only college players get preferential treatment, you may wanna read this. How do we hold these schools accountable?”

  1. May 9, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    By Justin Rodriguez

    Times Herald-Record
    Published: 10:35 PM – 03/08/11
    Last updated: 5:26 PM – 03/09/11
    Two years later, former Niagara Falls point guard C.J. Cox still thinks about the game, the biggest one of his life.
    On that day in Glens Falls, Newburgh Free Academy rolled over Niagara Falls 62-42 for the Class AA state boys’ basketball championship. The loss hurt, but might be even more painful for Cox now, following admissions by several of Newburgh’s stars from that team that they routinely cut classes and still played the last two seasons.
    Niagara Falls can’t get a rematch with powerful Newburgh. But the Buffalo-area school wants the Goldbacks’ 2009 state championship banner stripped and hung in its gym instead. The play seems like a long shot, but Niagara Falls could take its gripe to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.
    “We lost and we moved on, but now it’s kind of like what if?” said Cox, now a freshman at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. “I feel cheated, they cheated to win. I don’t want to sound cocky, but I want that banner where it belongs.”
    Newburgh Athletic Director Chris Townsend, Principal Peter Copeletti and Superintendent Ralph Pizzo all did not return phone calls.
    Niagara Falls Athletic Director John Forcucci said he has brought the matter to the attention of Section 6 Executive Director Tim Slade, who could not be reached for comment.
    “There would be mixed emotions, it would almost be by default, but we would pursue it if there is documentation that Newburgh was at fault,” Forcucci said. “We would like to bring the banner back to Niagara Falls.”
    As for taking the state title from Newburgh, NYSPHSAA Executive Director Nina Van Erk said: “Not based on what I’ve read in (the Times Herald-Record) so far.”
    Van Erk, who will continue to monitor developments in the Newburgh case, added that “Newburgh would only (forfeit its title) if the Newburgh School District discovered that they used an ineligible player according to the eligibility standards of NYSPHSAA and the state education department.”
    Van Erk said it would be up to Newburgh to report any violations.
    “I’m disgusted about Newburgh,” said Mike Esposito, a Niagara Falls assistant boys’ basketball coach in 2009, who now coaches the school’s girls’ basketball team. “It’s a true shame that they let those kids play, that cost us the championship. We sat kids and even kicked kids off the team that year that weren’t doing the right thing.”
    Middletown coach Jim Kelly (2010-11) and Minisink Valley coach Dave Osczepinski (2009) have both lost to Newburgh in the Section 9 Class AA title game. Both declined to comment when asked they think if the Goldbacks should forfeit those titles based on revelations about the Newburgh team.
    “I really can’t comment on Newburgh because I’m not in Newburgh,” Kelly said. “I can tell you that my five seniors from last season are in college and doing well. My three seniors this year are on track to graduate and have all been accepted to college.”
    Added Osczepinski: “Newburgh beat us on the court. It’s an NFA problem, an in-house problem.”
    Four of Newburgh’s most prominent six players from the past two seasons did not graduate from high school. Only one is enrolled in college.
    The former stars take some of the blame for their fall from grace, but the school faces accusations of favoritism toward the basketball program. Players and their supporters claim Newburgh administrators and coach Frank Dinnocenzio, a Niagara Falls native, gave them preferential treatment, allowing them to cut classes daily and still play in games.
    Former Newburgh sharpshooter Will Bouton, a key player on the 2009 state championship team, said he doesn’t think the Goldbacks should give up their title. “That’s ridiculous, we could have beat Niagara Falls with our bench,” Bouton said. “It wasn’t a competitive game, we didn’t trail for a second. I kind of understand where they are coming from, but people weren’t even skipping as much that year. Once we won the state championship, everyone’s head went in the clouds. We got really cocky and didn’t do the right thing. That’s when some people never really went to class.”


    The Newburgh/Highland Falls Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People released a statement regarding the Times Herald-Record report that four of the six key players on the 2009-10 boys’ basketball team did not graduate from Newburgh Free Academy.

    “The NAACP is aware of the local newspaper’s reporting of alleged preferential treatment given to some basketball players at Newburgh Free Academy. If, in fact, there is truth to this account, this is without question a critical debacle that must be addressed and brought to an immediate termination,” said the Rev. Byron E. Williams Sr., the local organization’s president. “The NAACP has begun investigating this unfortunate situation. If indeed this is true, it is unconscionable that people would place the future of these students in jeopardy in order to gain a moment of glory.”

    On Thursday night, there will be a special executive session of the NAACP to address the issue..

  2. 2 Kevin St. Pierre
    May 13, 2011 at 8:08 AM

    Clearly an important issue, and it sounds like NFA cheated — but I really don’t like the whining from Niagra either.

    Players need to go to class, period. I think the policy should always be: skip class without an absence note from a parent, you don’t play. That NFA state championship is definitely tainted, and if the allegations can be proven, it should be “vacated”.

    But did Niagra earn the state title? I say no. They were blown out on the court by superior (perhaps ineligible) players. If that banner were given to me under those circumstances, I wouldn’t take a speck of pride in it.

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