Following an apology from the Gardner mayor and superintendent, the MIAA reversed it January decision and will allow Gardner High teams to participate in the upcoming winter tournaments.
Saying their decision "was no easy matter" and done with "serious reservations," MIAA Executive Director Dick Neal informed Gardner of the news in a letter Monday. In January, the board banned Gardner from winter tournament participation after the Central Mass school defied sanctions placed on it by the MIAA following violations in the swim program.
Gardner was ordered to return the 2012 South-Central Swim trophy and if it didn't do so the school risked being barred from spring tournaments as well as denied MIAA membership for the 2013-14 season. The trophy was returned but it was too late to save Gardner's winter teams, until yesterday.
"Recognizing that the core mission of the MIAA is to promote educational athletic opportunities within our member schools, the MIAA Board of Directors is reluctantly removing that portion of your sanctions that would have excluded student participation in MIAA winter tournaments."
But Neal continued to express the board's disappointment in Gardner, even in the tone and content of the letter of apology sent by Mayor Mark Hawke.
"The nature of your letter serves to exacerbate the frustration you have caused the board for the past 12 months, and it has made most difficult the board's willingness to accept it as a reasonable rescue attempt on behalf of the students you have placed in harm's way.," said Neal.
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Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
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