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Massapequa's lawsuit questioning delay of Nassau's fall sports season at least opens dialogue, some athletic officials say 

Parents and students rally in Massapequa on Aug.

Parents and students rally in Massapequa on Aug. 31 for the resumption of high school sports. Credit: James Carbone

Reverberations of the decision of Section VIII, Nassau County’s high school sports governing body, to delay the fall sports season until January continued to be felt Thursday when the Massapequa school district filed a lawsuit to overturn the decision, asserting that 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.’

Reaction to the lawsuit within the Nassau athletic community saw a steady stream of why not. Athletics in the age of COVID-19 may be forever altered, at least somewhat, and Massapequa boys cross country coach Rob Eaton said that seeing what can be done at this point might not be a bad idea.

“This might become the new norm and getting used to it and finding out what works and what doesn’t is probably where they should go,” Eaton said. “If legal action is what will help people make decisions a little sooner than pushing things off to the spring, I think that’s the smart move.”

Manhasset athletic director Jim Amen agreed, saying that while he isn’t sure whether or not he agrees with the lawsuit, it is a way of letting voices be heard.

“It’s one way of trying to win your argument,” Amen said. “You go to court, court rules. I believe that the Massapequa Board of Education probably felt that sports was an integral part of the student athletes and the school. They didn’t see it happening, so they decided to go that route. I always think that if you have a dialogue and communication and you agree to disagree, you come up with a decision. That’s the way democracy works, right? You have freedom of speech and freedom of opinion.”

Eaton added that, while Nassau no doubt made the decision with the health and safety of athletes paramount in their collective minds, he believes ‘low-risk’ sports should be allowed to play.

“A lot of low-risk sports and youth sports have gone on during the summer and I think that if they’re at school and school is open and you’re able to have safety protocols based on what has been set forth, I do think (the low- risk sports) should play,” Eaton said.

Massapequa athletic director John Piropato had no comment.

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