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Friday, May 2, 2014: Five school districts accuse Burke of recruiting

   Leading off today: Section 9 will investigate allegations by five schools that the John S. Burke Catholic boys basketball program improperly recruited players, The Times Herald-Record reported Thursday.

   The Section 9 athletic council met Thursday to discuss the allegations and will conduct an inquiry, Middletown AD David Coates told the paper. Middletown Superintendent Ken Eastwood initiated the probe on behalf of his district, Washingtonville, Monroe-Woodbury, New Paltz and Valley Central, and hired the Long Island law firm of Bond, Schoeneck and King to conduct a nine-month investigation.

   The firm's eight-page report includes 10 specific allegations of recruiting and Burke Catholic assistant coach Bobby Rahn is mentioned in nine -- largely tied to his AAU team -- the paper reported. No players are named in the report.

   "It is important to note that every student-athlete that we received information from/about had some type of affiliation with Bobby Rahn and AAU's B.C. Eagles," attorney Howard Miller wrote in the report. "The connection between Bobby Rahn, the B.C. Eagles and Burke cannot be ignored."

   Burke head coach Doug Janeczko, who did not return the paper's phone call seeking comment, is not named in the investigation. Rahn also did not return a phone call seeking comment, and Burke AD Adam Kless said he was unaware of the investigation and declined comment.

   The law firm's report cites text messages in alleging Rahn asked a player from the AAU team to transfer to Burke Catholic and that he would receive additional benefits if he allowed another played being wooed to stay at his house.

   The father of one player sent an email to investigators saying Burke coaches recruited his son and the mother of another player said Rahn recruited her son.

   'A lot of explaining to do': Kevin Gleason of The Times Herald-Record hit the ground running with a strong, well-reasoned take on the allegations against the Burke basketball program, noting that it may be easy to discount innuendo and third-hand gripes when it comes to recruiting allegations, but having five school districts join forces for a probe that spells out specific grievances is quite another matter.

   "Burke Catholic has a lot of explaining to do. Its leaders, starting with Principal John Dolan, need to ask why so many schools would risk their own reputations, their own character, to call out Burke," Gleason writes.

   You can read the whole column here.

   NYSPHSAA puts off vote: The New York State Public High School Athletic Association's Executive Committee tabled a vote on eliminating the academic advantage exemption for transfers from public to private schools.

   Meeting Friday in Troy, some on the 22-member committee felt they lacked enough information to move forward at this time.

   "Basically, there were some concerns that NYSPHSAA, told The Times Herald-Record. "There is no point in rushing anything. I think it's in the best interest of the association to give this as much thought as possible."

  
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   Under current rules, students can transfer to private schools to pursue classes such as theology or Advanced Placement, that are not offered in public schools. The proposed revision to the academic advantage rule would require students who transfer to sit out a year in the sport they played in the past year.

   Zayas anticipates a vote in October.

   A few other highlights from the meeting:

    • A proposal to shift to National Federation rulebooks for all sports was voted down.

    • A proposal to go to a 35-second shot clock in girls basketball was also rejected.

    • A revision to regional pairings in the NYSPHSAA girls Class D basketball tournament was approved, almost certainly putting an end to the possibility of a team proceeding directly from its sectional tournament to the state semifinals.

    • The request to move up the Sunday start times for the girls basketball finals in Troy by two hours was OK'd.

   No. 1 team knocked off: Freshman Bobby Burns cashed in John Daniggelis' feed with 15 seconds left as host Smithtown East edged Smithtown West 11-10 in a Suffolk Division I boys lacrosse game Thursday.

   East goalie Billy McEnroe, whose team trailed 9-5 with 10 minutes to play, made the last of his 11 saves on a low shot as time expired.

   Smithtown West is ranked first and East is 10th this week according to the New York State Sportswriters Association.

   Quite the feat: Dominic Palma and Scott Eisenmenger hit back-to-back home runs twice in Hilton's 11-1 baseball victory against Gates Chili. The pair went back-to-back in the first and third innings.


  
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