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Brunswick High School appeals two-year football ban

2021 season canceled early after hazing investigation

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Brunswick High School is facing a crossroads with its football program.

Superintendent Phil Potenziano filed a waiver with the Maine Principal's Association on December 2 in an effort to avoid his school being barred from playing football for two full seasons.

NEWS CENTER Maine reported this fall on investigations by the school department and the Brunswick Police Department into an alleged hazing incident that happened at a team retreat in August. After the incident, the school department fired the head coach and canceled the last three games of the season.

According to Appendix Z of the MPA handbook, which was added in 2003, any sports team that does not complete its schedule is prohibited from playing for two seasons.

During a Zoom interview Saturday morning, Potenziano said the MPA has been upfront through the entire process. He said that at a January meeting of the MPA Interscholastic Management Committee, Brunswick will request a return to play.

"No surprises," he said of his interactions with MPA officials. "But we do feel as though the extenuating circumstances we experienced here in Brunswick last fall meet that criteria. So, we’re feeling as though we met that criteria asking for an appeal so that our students can play in the future."

Despite saying he feels confident the committee will favor his case, Potenziano has not been assured the waiver will be accepted.

"I can only hope that they view it in that same way and see this as an opportunity for a school district and a program to rebuild and to become stronger and even more inclusive and accepting of our student population," he said.

On November 5, Brunswick police said they found no evidence that victims were sexually assaulted during the incident, which was alleged at the time.

They also said no families wanted to pursue criminal charges. At an October district meeting, parents and players asked the district to do whatever they could to get kids back on the field safely.

The fate of the program could be decided just after the new year.

NEWS CENTER Maine attempted, unsuccessfully, to reach MPA leadership for comment for this report.

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