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Friday, Feb. 26, 2016: Liverpool lodges complaint over opponent's fans

   Leading off today: Liverpool Superintendent Mark Potter has expressed his dissatisfaction with the behavior of Syracuse Corcoran fans at two recent contests between the schools, reported Friday.

   Potter sent a letter to Syracuse City School District counterpart Sharon Contreras regarding behavior at the Section 3 boys basketball semifinals last weekend at Onondaga Community College's SRC Arena. Slurs and vulgar taunts aimed at leading scorer Tyler Sullivan were audible for at least half the contest, the website reported.

   Sectional basketball committee chairman Scott Sugar got up and told the group they were free to be loud and energetic but without vulgarities and threats. In a subsequent email, Sugar called the behavior, "completely obscene, vulgar and embarrassing."

   Liverpool coach Ryan Blackwell, the former state high school player of the year and Syracuse University standout, said there was a similar problem during a previous game at Corcoran last month.

   Liverpool's Potter termed the lack of supervision by Corcoran officials "irresponsible" and said it's an issue Liverpool has not encountered with other city schools such as Henninger or Nottingham.

   Contreras had not responded to a request for comment by late Friday afternoon.

   Trouble in Iowa, too: A group of Iowa high school students was chewed out for seemingly using presidential candidate Donald Trump's name as a racial insult during a boys basketball playoff game Monday, The Associated Press reported.

   The incident occurred during a game between Dallas Center-Grimes in West Des Moines, a largely white school, and Perry, a racially mixed school north of Des Moines.

   Steve Watson, activities director at Dallas Center-Grimes, said approximately a dozen students chanted Trump's name after their team lost 57-50. Trump has alleged illegal immigration from Mexico brings rapists and drug dealers into the U.S. Watson said the chant was uttered three or four times before administrators stopped the students.

   He declined to say whether the students were disciplined.

   No room for hoops: Colgate University has sent Section 3 scrambling for a state basketball tournament regional venue -- a search that will serve as good practice for the next few years.

   Section 3 Executive Director John Rathbun said Colgate cited an unexpected need by its men's and women's basketball teams this week when it notified him. Whitesboro High School will step in to host the girls Class C and D regionals March 5, though the 'D' game could be moved to Jefferson Community College in Watertown if Copenhagen represents Section 3.

   Section 3 is also facing an availability issue with SRC Arena for its 2017-18 sectional playoffs because Onondaga Community College won the right to host the NYSPHSAA competitive cheerleading championships the next three years, and the dates for the first two fall on the same weekend as the sectional basketball finals.

   The Carrier Dome will also be unavailable because of scheduling conflicts.

   Laurens mourns: Pasquale "Pat" Grasso, the long-time Laurens athletic director, died Tuesday at age 82 from heart complications, The Daily Star reported.


  • 2016 NYSPHSAA boys basketball brackets
  • 2016 NYSPHSAA girls basketball brackets
  • 2016 NYSPHSAA boys hockey brackets
  • 2016 N.Y. wrestling tournament brackets (PDF)

  •    Grasso became a physical education teacher, AD and driver's education instructor in 1957. He also coached football, basketball and baseball from 1957-1988. Laurens named its gymnasium in Grasso's honor in 2008, the same year he was inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame.

       "He was an athletic director but was much more than that," teacher Jonathan Powers told the paper. "He was at every school event you could think of. He was at everything and supported everything the kids did at that school."

       Dept. of health and safety: The Times Herald-Record did several stories last week on various safety issues in sports, and the most interesting piece was about the ongoing soccer discussion of the effects of heading the ball too often.

       The United States Soccer Federation announced header restrictions last November for all U.S. Soccer youth national teams and academies. The USSF banned headers for players ages 10 and younger and limited headers in practice for those ages 11-13. The USSF recommends that youth leagues follow the same standards.

       The ban resolved a proposed class-action lawsuit filed against U.S. Soccer and others, since dismissed.

       Dr. Bill Colman, an orthopedic surgeon with offices in Poughkeepsie and East Fishkill, told the paper he believes there's a chance that any time a soccer ball hits the head it could cause damage through sub-concussive episodes. It's uncertain whether repeated such events -- head injuries without a neurological symptom -- cause more significant problems.

       "They've shown that the collision energy of a soccer ball hitting a head from like a high goal kick is equivalent to getting punched with a boxing glove in a fight," Colman said. "We know that boxing causes long-term damage to the brain. It stands to reason so far -- I can say that my opinion is, and it's something of a guess -- that soccer heading is an equivalent thing."

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