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Ruling on appeal delays completion of Section VI football schedule

The wait for the completion and release of the 2016 Section VI Football Federation schedule continues to drag on longer than video review of a reception.

The reason - two merged schools disputing their classification status for the upcoming season after a Section VI competition committee ruled they should be in a higher class based on last year's performance while the BED percentage enrollment numbers suggest otherwise.

A state executive committee for the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association heard the appeals of two merged schools disputing their classification status for the upcoming season. Now, last year's Class C finalists - Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake and Buffalo Public Schools Bennett along with its fellow merged schools and the rest of Section VI play the waiting game following Monday afternoon's meeting regarding the matter. A competition committee approved the mergers contingent on  reigning Class C champ Maple Grove/CL moving to Class B and Bennett from potentially being in Class B to instead being in Class A. The reason, both made a sectional final which gives the competition committee the option of moving up a merged program into a higher classification.

According to Section VI Executive Director Timm Slade, all the parties involved will learn of the decision via written letter from an attorney representing the NYSPHSAA with the next five to 10 days. While a quick decision could result in the parties receiving an overnight letter some time Tuesday, Slade said the appeals process would be a thorough one -- suggesting the committee might take time to think about it -- but also noted the state knows the section is under pressure to release a schedule.

In past seasons, the Section VI schedule has been released no later than March. Even with a quick one day decision by the state, the best scenario for the section would be an early May public release date for the schedule. The longer it takes the state to issue its ruling, the longer the wait.

The main reason the schedule is supposed to come out earlier, aside from the positive publicity, is so that schools can figure out what day they would hold their respective Homecoming games and get a jump on planning for all the hoopla that surrounds that celebration. Teams also would like to know who they are playing and what division they will reside as they conduct offseason workouts.

"We can't release a schedule when we have appeals that affect member schools," Slade said. "Our job is to represent our 95 high schools in Section VI not three or four impacted by the sport of football."

Buffalo schools athletic director Aubrey Lloyd said that the BED percentage numbers for Bennett's merger  adds up to it being Class B not A.

"The kids just want to play football," Lloyd said. "We just want the opportunity. ... But by the formula, Bennett should be a 'B' school.

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