By Craig Schneider and Gregg Sarra
The Massapequa school district has filed a lawsuit to overturn the decision to postpone Nassau County's fall sports programs until January, asserting that the regional athletic board that made the decision overstepped its authority and that it harms the "mental, emotional and physical well-being of the athletes."
The decision to delay the fall sports season was made last month by the seven-member superintendentâ€™s board of Section VIII, the governing body of high school sports in Nassau. The regional board said it made the 7-0 decision "out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our students, coaches and staff" amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision suspended the fall sports season in Nassau County for public high schools and participating middle and nonpublic schools. All the school districts in Nassau County that have high schools are members of Section VIII. The sole nonpublic school is Friends Academy in Locust Valley.
The board said all three high school seasons would commence over a condensed six-month schedule from January to June.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in State Supreme Court of Nassau County, seeks a temporary restraining order on the decision and requests that the court strike it down and direct Section VIII to begin sports on Sept. 21.
"The determination to effectively cancel the fall sports season and to postpone interscholastic athletics until January 2021 must be vacated and annulled because Section VIII failed to follow its own rules," the lawsuit said. It added, "The Superintendent's Board had no discretion, or abused whatever discretion it may have had, in issuing the determination without authority, without rational basis and without an articulated rationale."
The lawsuit lists the other Nassau school districts as "necessary parties" because they might be affected by the judgment.