High School AD in Utica Removed & Football Team Forfeits Season
Sadly it appears that, once again, poor adult oversight has adversely effected a large group of high school student-athletes. The details are vague and in most cases should remain that way for a multitude of reasons. According to an article by Lindsay Kramer of Syracuse.com, the athletic director of Utica-Notre Dame high school in Utica, NY, Martin Nemecek has been removed from his position. In addition, the school's football program will forfeit its entire 2021 season.
All of that hard work put in by those student-athletes, compromised. It is difficult for young athletes to watch those workouts and practices, that resulted in three victories, being thrown out the window. According to Kramer, Nemecek was removed "because the school’s football team violated state athletic policy governing student-athlete transfer eligibility." Lindsay Kramer credited a report by WKTV for that information. In some cases, ineligibility is a mistake or misinterpretation. In others, eligibility details are glanced over in pursuit of a competitive advantage. I am gathering that the latter may not be the case in this instance.
Kramer wrote, "Executive principal Roy Kane told the Utica TV station that the school was made aware that the football team may have violated state rules governing student-athlete transfer eligibility. Kane contacted John Rathbun, executive director of Section III athletics. Rathbun confirmed the infraction took place and told the school they had to forfeit the wins."
The good thing is that all is not lost. The Section III team had 3 wins and 4 four losses this season, but now they will finish the season with an 0-7 record. The cool thing is that Utica-Notre Dame will be competing in the Class D playoffs against Adirondack on Friday night. These student-athletes should not continue to be punished for a violation that had nothing to do with them. Another good thing from the outside is that Nemecek was removed as AD but did not lose his teaching job at the school. That gives me the initial impression that the violation was made in error, which is always a good thing.