Hudson Valley Sports Report


Second Suit Was Filed Upstate

By Rich Thomaselli
HVSR Staff

A Nassau County Supreme Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit that tried to overturn the decision to move high school football in New York State from the fall to a March 1, 2021 start.

According to Newsday, Justice Jack L. Libert ruled against the Massapequa School District, which brought the suit, saying that Section 8 on Long Island “acted within the lawful scope of its authority” when it canceled all sports until January of 2021.

“We looked out for the health of our kids,” Section VIII executive director Pat Pizzarelli said of the decision. “We all want our kids out there competing, but it has to be done safely.”

This is one of at least two lawsuits looking to save the fall high school football season. Last week, Loraine Humphrey, the mother of a high school athlete, filed suit in Niagara County Supreme Court against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the NYSPHSAA and several other state entities.

According to a Buffalo-area television station, the lawsuit notes that high school football is being played in neighboring states such as Pennsylvania; college football is being played by Buffalo University and Syracuse University; and the NFL’s Buffalo Bills are also playing. Her lawsuit states that there is no scientific basis to cancel high school football while at the same time allowing NCAA, NFL and high school soccer games to play their schedules, especially when the survival rates for younger people remain high.

In addition, the decision is also depriving athletes of exposure in front of college coaches. Humphrey’s son Justin is the quarterback of Niagara Falls High School and a college prospect.

“Defendants did not provide a pre- or post-deprivation remedy to question ‘high risk’ or to determine if high school fall football can be played with the same health-related protocols as ‘lower risk’ sports or the same health related protocols as the NCAA or NFL. The designation of high school football as ‘high risk’ is random, arbitrary and capricious,” the lawsuit states.

The suits have implications even in those Sections that have postponed all sports to 2021. There is no guarantee that football would be permitted even in the spring.  If this lawsuit prevails, the question of whether football can be played then would be removed.  Additionally, the group says that just bringing this suit could have an impact on current and future decisions by officials regarding other sports as the state will be put on notice and precedence could be established for other similar legal actions.

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