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Monday, Feb. 9, 2015: Accusations fly in Philadelphia

   Leading off today: They play a rough brand of girls basketball in the Philadelphia area. And it has nothing to do with elbows in the paint or moving picks.

   PhillyVoice reported last week on actions that -- if proven true -- would constitute some of the most underhanded and disturbing subterfuge seen in high school sports in quite awhile. The episode is picking up more attention by the day, and girls basketball expert Mike Flynn tweeted Monday he's heard the online version of the story is approaching 1 million views thus far.

   A PhillyVoice investigation determined that an account traced to the coach of a rival Philadelphia Catholic League team was the source of emails to college programs alleging that African-born foreign players on the Neumann-Goretti team -- ranked No. 1 nationally by several outlets -- could be ineligible under NCAA rules. Christina Aborowa has already signed with the University of Texas, and 6-foot-9 Nigerian teammate Felicia "Fee" Aiyeotan could be one of the nation's coveted Class of 2016 recruits.

   The email alleged the players are older than their actual age and are in the United States illegally. Contents of the email were posted of forums alleging institutional misconduct and stating that the FBI is looking into the matter, PhillyVoice reported.

   Further, PhillyVoice said the email came from an account linked to Archbishop Wood girls basketball coach John Gallagher, who through an attorney neither confirmed nor denied sending the message, and Archbishop Wood officials and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have known about the episode for two months without taking action.

   Now, the sordid affair appears headed to court. Former Neumann-Goretti coach Letty Santarelli has filed for a defamation and slander suit, with the accompanying documents asserting a link between Gallagher and the emails.

   "When I was told about the email sent to the Texas coach, I was infuriated," said Maureen Tobin, host mother for the girls. "Christina didn't deserve that. We know where the emails came from. I want answers."

   Football coaching changes: Gates Chili assistant Troy Jeffers will be appointed football coach at Churchville-Chili at Tuesday's school board meeting. He replaces Paul Dick, the only varsity coach in the program's history.

   Ray Clark, a volunteer assistant last fall, was scheduled to be approved as the new North Tonawanda head coach Monday. He replaces second-year coach Anthony Truilizio.

   Monsignor Farrell fired head coach Jim Bradley, replacing him after four seasons with Anthony Garofalo, the school's AD, The Advance reported. Bradley, a Farrell guidance counselor, went 19-21 in four seasons after inheriting a program that was 17-34 the previous five years.

   Fourth-year coach Rich Clark stepped down at St. Joseph by-the-Sea, citing an inability to dedicate enough time to the

  
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job. Clark compiled a 16-24 mark (2-7 in 2014) after nine years as an assistant in the program.

   In the running: Harley Allendale-Columbia sophomore infielder/pitcher Eliza DeMers was the only New Yorker among 36 players invited to the 2015 USA Baseball Women's National Team Trials following a process approved by the USOC. Trials will be held May 22-24, with an 18-player roster representing the United States at the


Pan American Games.

   The USA Baseball Women's National Team is managed by Jonathan Pollard, who ran the silver medal-winning team at the WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup in Japan in 2014.

   Extra points: With Buffalo's HarborCenter already expected to bid, operators of the OnCenter in Syracuse have shown interest in hosting the NYSPHSAA boys hockey final fours, Section 3 Executive Director John Rathbun told Syracuse.com. The Utica Aud has been the long-time host.


  
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