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Monsignor Martin upholds brawl disciplinary action

Appeals denied, and the search for a new Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association executive director continues.

The private-school league's Board of Principals made that anouncement Tuesday by issuing a statement through a spokesman for the Diocese of Buffalo.

In short, the Monsignor Martin Association will uphold the disciplinary action issued to members of the Bishop Timon-St. Jude and St. Joe's football teams as punishment for their roles in their brawl-suspended football game Oct. 7. The diocese's spokesman, George Richert, also announced that "until an interim executive director is named, current vice presidents" will fill the role previously held by Brian Kiszewski.

Regarding the appeals filed by the schools, the league announced: "In the interest of protecting the integrity of our league and the ideals we hold so important, the sanctions set forth by the Executive Committee regarding the incident at the St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute versus Bishop Timon-St. Jude football will be upheld."

St. Joe's issued a statement released by the diocese, too, following the decision by the league's board of principals. It read: "We are grateful the Board of Principals agreed to hear the appeal, and we accept the decision as a member of the Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association.  The entire St. Joe’s community will continue to place our energy and focus on the mission of educating our students to become gentlemen of integrity. In that same spirit, we will also continue to work to ensure our students’ safety is always protected."

The school declined further comment. League board of principal chairperson Marissa Dauria also declined further comment when contacted by The News.

Although the statement from the league did not name who are the vice presidents handling Kiszewski's job, Mount Mercy Athletic Director Doug Webster confirmed Monday night that he and St. Joe’s counterpart Pete Schneider, Kiszewski’s two vice chairpersons, are currently handling Kiszewski’s duties – Webster the girls sports and Schneider the boys.

“For how long it will be I do not know,” said Webster, declining further comment.

Kiszewski resigned Friday as the league’s executive director – two days after announcing via diocese spokesman that the brawl-suspended contest would be considered a double forfeit (losses for both teams) with some players from both sides disciplined for their actions during the brawl. Kisziewski said the brawl had nothing to do with the resignation.

Though specific individuals or number of disciplined athletes has not been revealed, the Buffalo News did learn only one St. Joe’s athlete was issued a one-game suspension. St. Joe’s filed an appeal Friday, which enabled senior lineman Freddie Nixon to play in last Saturday’s rivalry game against Canisius.

Bishop Timon-St. Jude coach and athletic director Charlie Comerford issued a statement prior to his team’s win at defending state champion Aquinas on Saturday that his school decided not to let its disciplined players participate in the contest. Comerford said his players via text to The News shortly after the ruling that those players are eligible to play Friday night against state No. 1 Canisius at Fitzpatrick Field, as the league did not consider that a separate punishing action by the school.

Rules governing the sport state that any player caught throwing a punch at another player, regardless of the shot connecting, to be issued an ejection and game disqualification penalties.

In regards to the search for an interim executive director, what exactly are the job responsibilities associated with the job.

Besides handling disciplinary matters and public relations for the league, the executive director mainly supervises activities and chairpeople of each of the more than 15 sports sposored by the league in the boys and girls divisions. The executive director also sets up venues for postseason championships and represents the league at state-level meetings. However, the league's Board of Principals must approve all of the executive director's decisions -- including disciplinary ones.

Kiszewski said Saturday all league championship dates and venues have been secured for fall sports.

The upholding of the punishment means Nixon will have to sit out this Saturday’s 1 p.m. Monsignor Martin contest against defending league champion St. Francis – a game that will impact postseason seeding for the league’s playoffs. The postseason starts the weekend of Nov. 4 with seeds Nos. 3 and 4 hosting the fifth- and sixth-place teams in quarterfinal action. The top two finishers during the regular season receive byes into the semifinals and home games the weekend of Nov. 11-12.

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