06-07-14: Beverly lax players suspended over smoking cigars at graduation
BEVERLY, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – Cigars at a graduation ceremony in Beverly are causing controversy after some high school senior lacrosse players have to sit out of a big game.
Students across Massachusetts are celebrating graduations this month. Some graduating seniors at Beverly High School decided to enjoy a celebratory cigar after last week's ceremony, but a picture snapped of the celebration has ended the high school lacrosse careers of two players.
The picture was put on the front page of the Beverly Citizen, a local newspaper. Two of the students in the photo are on the Panthers lacrosse team, which will play in the Division 2 North finals Saturday in the MIAA state tournament. But those two players seen smoking in the picture have been kicked off the team, essentially ending their seasons right before the biggest game of their careers.
According to a blog post on Barstool Sports, both players are 18 years old and therefore weren't breaking any laws, but it is against the MIAA’s drug and alcohol policy and that is why they are suspended the rest of the season.
Beverly High School Principal Sean Gallagher released the following statement Friday: “On the morning of Thursday, June 5 the Beverly High School administration was notified of a possible violation of MIAA policy by two student-athletes. After contacting the MIAA headquarters and consulting with officials there, it was confirmed that the nature of the incident did indeed constitute a violation of MIAA policy. As part of our school and district policy we do not comment on matters related to personnel or student issues."
Fox 25 contacted MIAA spokesman Paul Wetzel to see if the schools had any discretion in enforcing the policy to see if there was anything the school could do to allow the student-athletes to stay on the team. The MIAA said there was an appeals process the school could use if the violation happened during the regular season. Because the violation happened during the state tournament, there is no appeal process and if the players had played in the game, Beverly would have been forced to forfeit for using ineligible players.
Beverly beat Marblehead on Saturday to advance to win the Division Two North Championship and advance to the state semifinals.
A parent of one of the suspended players told Fox 25 they are making calls to see what the players' rights are and if there is any way they can rejoin the team for the remainder of their state tournament run.