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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014: Charges filed against Sec. 1 softball coach Schilling

   Leading off today: Veteran John Jay East Fishkill softball coach Bonnie Schilling will appear in court Sept. 3 to face charges of tampering with public records, a Class D felony, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported Friday.

   The charge stems from her role as a guidance counselor at John Jay, where Schilling allegedly altered the grades of a student, the paper reported. Schilling's attorney, Michael Sussman, said last month the allegations were that she tampered with her son's transcripts, and said Schilling denied the allegation.

   Schilling, 45, was arraigned in East Fishkill Court on Thursday and released on her own recognizance.

   The school district placed Schilling on administrative leave March 27. Wappingers Board of Education President Douglass Bitteker said Schilling remains on administrative leave and that the district would not have a comment on the pending charges.

   Schilling was replaced in the softball program this spring by JV coach Mike Crocco. She has won 318 games, two NYSPHSAA titles and 11 Section 1 championships in 18 seasons. She was twice named the state's coach of the year by the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports.

   T'burg drops football: Trumansburg will sit out the upcoming Section 4 varsity football season because of a shortage of players, the Star-Gazette reported.

   Superintendent Michael McGuire said the team had only 13 eligible players when the decision was made Wednesday. New York requires teams to have at least 16 players for games.

   John Dunlap resigned as coach in early July. Steve Murray was named head coach before the season and 22 students showed up for a team meeting.

   "By the time we got down to the first practice the numbers were down significantly and the numbers dropped off after a few days," McGuire said.

   Trumansburg had a 1-8 record last season.

   Section 6's Pine Valley called off its season earlier this week because of a lack of players.

   Slow down, gang: Newsday reported this week that the CHSFL is in discussions with Yankee Stadium officials about hosting the inaugural state Catholic schools football championship on Nov. 29. Yankee Stadium already hosts the PSAL title game.

   The Catholic schools championship will pit the winner of the downstate CHSFL title against the Monsignor Martin Association champ from the Buffalo area.

   "We're hoping for Yankee Stadium to make the first one special," St. Anthony's coach Rich Reichert told the paper.

   That would certainly make sense, but some other ideas that have been swirling around since Buffalo-area media reported on the possibility of the new CHSFL vs. MMA championship earlier this summer are pipe dreams, and Reichert may have re-ignited the waste of bandwidth on online forums when he said this could be the first step to a "true" state championship game that also features Catholic schools from Rochester, Syracuse and Albany.

   I can say with certainty that such a tournament will not happen without a scholastic seismic shift unlike anything New York has seen in many decades.

   In short, the flaw in the idea is that the Catholic schools in the other Thruway cities already have a state tournament -- the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament. Though being members of New York's largest high school sports sanctioning body would not automatically preclude Syracuse CBA or Aquinas from participating in a Catholic league tournament, those schools would have to do so while abiding by NYSPHSAA standards -- including rules on the length of the season.

   The subject came up as recently as a year ago when White Plains reached the NYSPHSAA Class AA football semifinals on Nov. 23. Because of the rules of its association on the length of the season, White Plains was not able to turn around the following weekend and continue its decades-long tradition of playing nearby Archbishop Stepinac on Thanksgiving weekend.

   To hear the online "experts" tell it, the solution is simple: Aquinas and the other private schools can leave the NYSPHSAA and join CHSFL and MMA members in a true

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statewide Catholic league. Well, anything is easy when you don't know what you're talking about -- sadly, a speciality of Internet forums.

   Leaving the NYSPHSAA would be suicide for those schools, some of whom are already at risk of following St. Michael Academy, Rice, Bishop Ford and Holy Angels onto the list of private schools to have closed their doors in recent years.

   With private schools relatively few and far between in the large chunk of real estate called New York, scheduling in all sports (including football) would be challenging if not impossible if they left the NYSPHSAA. Oh, sure, they could still apply for friends and neighbors status, which would make its permissible for public schools to keep those schools on the schedule, but there are not enough private schools in Rochester, Syracuse or Albany to form the core of a meaningful regular-season schedule.

   And does nobody remember what happened in Section 3 just a few years ago when for all practical purposes the entire membership of a league ran off to form a "new" league while leaving Syracuse CBA behind to fend for itself? Yeah, I can just see the ADs at CBA or Bishop Kearney getting their phone calls returned by nearby NYSPHSAA public schools when they call to try to set up some non-league basketball or soccer games.

   The online dreamers will shoot back that there is already precedent allowing for a football-only move because Albany Academy, a private school, has competed independently in boys basketball the past few seasons and participates in the Federation tournament.

   That argument falls under the heading of apples and oranges. While it's true Albany Academy has chosen to opt out of the Section 2 tournament, these two facts are undeniable:

   (1) Their decision to go the AIS route -- in which you qualify for the Federation tournament as long as you can walk and chew gum at the same time -- already does not sit well with a large number of administrators at area schools.

   (2) Albany Acadeym would face an "either you're with us or you're with them, but you can't have the best of both worlds" ultimatum from Section 2 if its AIS affiliation required a series of March playoff games that competed with the Section 2 tournament for attendance and media attention.

   Bottom line: No upstate administrator would put his/her school's entire athletic program at risk for the sake of joining someone else's football tournament.

   On the move: Rome Free Academy will have new coaches in hockey and baseball in the coming school year as the Poland school board voted Tuesday to hire Greg Cuthbertson as principal of its middle and high school grades.

   Cuthbertson will replace former Principal Jason Mitchell, who took a position as assistant superintendent in Canastota, the Observer-Dispatch reported.

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