Update, 6:30 p.m.:
Aquinas Principal Ted Mancini, AD Anthony Bianchi and coach Chris Battaglia held a press conference this afternoon, and school officials maintained they believed they followed proper procedure.
"We're devastated. We did nothing wrong," Aquinas president Michael Daley told the Democrat and Chronicle. "We followed the guidance prescribed to us by the chairman of Section 5 football (former Aquinas AD Dick Cerone). We asked him in early October what the clearance procedure was for an injured athlete returning."
Mancini said school officials had consulted with their legal counsel, but as of 5 p.m. was not able to say if court papers had been filed.
You can read the Democrat and Chronicle's updated story here.
Update, 5:55 p.m.: Someone -- several someones, actually -- asked the question, and I do not have an answer other than to say "it's always been three games."
That's in reference to the NYSPHSAA rule cited below, where the same paragraph says the minimum threshold for an "eligible participant" is either three games or six. That's a minor issue at best, but it's somehow become one of the more popular questions landing in my inbox this afternoon.
Leading off today: Section 5 has ruled Aquinas must forfeit its weekend football victory over Pittsford, knocking the defending NYSPHSAA Class AA champions out of the postseason, it was announced Tuesday.
The forfeit ruling is the result of the Little Irish using an ineligible player -- junior quarterback Jake Zembiec, the NYSSWA 2013 Class AA player of the year. Zembiec was injured in a Week 2 loss at Canisius and remained sidelined until Saturday night, when he returned to help Aquinas beat Pittsford 37-20 in the Section 5 quarterfinals.
Under New York State Public High School Athletic Association rules, a player must be an eligible participant in three regular-season football games in order to play in the postseason.
Barring a successful appeal, Aquinas ends its season with a 5-3 record and Pittsford advanced to the sectional semifinals vs. Rush-Henrietta.
Here is the announcement from Section 5 Executive Director Ed Stores:
ROCHESTER, NY -- As a result of a decision of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association's Section V Executive Committee this morning, the Aquinas High School football team must forfeit their October 25th game against Pittsford Central School District for using an ineligible player who did not meet the representation rule.
The NYSPHSAA representation rule, included in the NYSPHSAA Handbook, states that a player must be an eligible participant in three regular season football games in order to participate in the postseason. The student in question was determined not to be an eligible participant for three regular season football games; furthermore no waiver was requested of the Section.
Ed Stores, the Section V Executive Director for the past 17 years, said "This is certainly an unfortunate situation, however Section V is charged with enforcing the rules and regulations which are voted upon and approved by the membership. The representation rule is clear that a student must be an eligible participant for three regular season football games in order to play in the postseason."
Pittsford Central School District will advance in the Section V playoffs on Saturday, November 1st against Rush-Henrietta.