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Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014: Canisius dean's firing tied to Zaffram's suspension

   Leading off today: If you came here looking for good news, my recommendation is that you just go away. There's nothing to see here except various flavors of bad news involving past and present New York athletes plus the requisite weekly arrest report.

   With a little luck, there will be a tidal wave of National Letter of Intent signings today to wash away the stench.

   Canisius follow-up: The details behind the suspension of Canisius two-way football starter Brad Zaffram are as bad as the initial speculation, with The Buffalo News confirming a cause/effect relationship between the disciplinary action against the senior and the departure of Beck O'Connor, the dean of students.

   Administrators fired Dean for failing to follow procedures surrounding cheating allegations against Zaffram, a source with knowledge of the situation told the paper. The source said O'Connor was dismissed because he treated Zaffram's undisclosed transgression as a first-time offense despite other Canisius officials considering it a repeat offense because of an incident at Sweet Home High School in 2013. Had his rule violation at Canisius been treated as a first offense, Zaffram would likely have been subjected to a letter of reprimand rather than a 30-day suspension from extracurricular activities including playing for the state's top-ranked football team.

   The paper was unsuccessful in contacting numerous Canisius officials and O'Connor, who worked at the school for eight years, for comment.

   However, O'Connor told WIVB-TV he was following policy given to him by the school principal.

   Carol Zaffram, the player's mother, told the TV station she was "heartbroken" over O'Connor's firing.

   The newspaper's source said Zaffram, a fullback/linebacker selected to the NYSSWA all-state team as a sophomore and junior, was not accused of cheating at Sweet Home. Rather, he had a cellphone turned on during a Regents exam, a violation of state testing procedures. That violation was not part of his official record at Canisius, according to the source.

   UConn incident: Noriana Radwan pretty much did what I do at least once a week while watching the self-proclaimed "Worldwide Leader in Sports." The difference is, I tend to flip the bird at my flatscreen TV or laptop; Radwan opted to do it straight into a camera recording a celebration.

   The freshman soccer player from Beacon has been suspended indefinitely by the University of Connecticut after giving the middle finger gesture to an ESPN camera Sunday after the Huskies won the American Athletic Conference women's championship.

   That made Radwan, who appeared in portions of nine games, an almost instant celebrity on Deadspin.com and a handful of other sports and pop-culture websites. UConn pretty much had no choice but to suspend her for the NCAA tournament in light of the attention.

   "The gesture showed poor judgment and sportsmanship and does not represent what we want our program and University to stand for," the school announced in a

  

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  • statement. "The issue has already been addressed by the coaching staff to the student-athlete. The student-athlete has been indefinitely suspended from all team activities, including participation in UConn's upcoming NCAA tournament games."

       Ex-CK star ineligible: St. John's freshman basketball player Adonis De La Rosa is the latest New York high school alum ruled ineligible after questions surfaced about his academic credentials, The Daily News reported.

       The NCAA Eligibility Center contacted them regarding the 6-foot-11 center from Christ the King, St. John's AD Chris Monasch said in a statement. A source told the paper the issue -- which could potentially be resolved in time for the second semester -- has to do with questions about his performance on standardized tests even after De La Rosa was approved by the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse to play as a freshman.

       Late last month, St. John's junior Keith Thomas, a forward from Yorktown, was ruled ineligible after The Journal News reported his transcript at Westchester Community College had been doctored.

       Coach accused: Kyle T. Fiegel, an assistant football coach at Newfane, was charged Monday by the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Bureau with the sexual assault of a person under 15, The Buffalo News reported.

       Fiegel, a 27-year-old substitute teacher, is accused of multiple incidents in the Town of Royalton, police said. He faces two counts of second-degree rape, second-degree criminal sexual act and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

       Fiegel was remanded to Niagara County Jail on $2,500 bail after appearing in Town of Lockport court on Monday.


      
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