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Ilion players ineligible to play football and Herkimer players may follow

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - Herkimer Schools Superintendent Gary Tutty tells NEWSChannel 2, that he has reason to believe some Herkimer football players may have been at an underage drinking party in Ilion last weekend that resulted in more than 20 Ilion players getting suspended.

Because of the Ilion suspensions, the homecoming game between Frankfort and Ilion in Frankfort-Schuyler Friday night was canceled, resulting in a Frankfort win.

Ilion Central Schools Superintendent Cosmo Tangorra says he won't confirm the Ilion suspensions are over that underage party that has been talked about on social media the past few days. Tangorra says, "I can tell you that the Ilion Central School District is handling a disciplinary issue, like we do every day of the year, and we discuss those disciplinary issues only with the students and their parents."

The parents of one of the Ilion players suspended tells NEWSChannel 2 that the party in question took place at their home, but they had no idea it was taking place.

The parents say they came home earlier than their son expected and when they did get home, they found a large group of young people on their lawn and immediately broke the party up.

Tangorra says he did contact law enforcement. The superintendent said, "Every time that there is an infraction of the Code of Conduct that requires the school district to take action, we do so. If we believe that that same action requires law enforcement be involved, whether we know or not, we notify law enforcement."

Ilion Police say they have reported the incident to New York State Police.

State Police tell NEWSChannel 2 they do not have an active investigation going, yet.

Tangorra also said the chatter on social media in the past couple of days had been getting kind of nasty, so he used this incident to talk to all students in the Junior/Senior High School about social media and the dangers of it.

He says all students were talked to before Friday morning. Tangorra said, "To make them aware, once again, the pitfalls of social media, the risks that they take when they engage in social media. We actually took advantage of today's situation to once again bring to their attention, the world that we live in and how it's affected by technology. Make them aware that, listen, if you are victimized by anyone via social media, we have to know so that we can protect you. Their safety is the most important thing that's on our mind."

Besides Ilion and Frankfort, there has been talk on the social media websites that football players from Frankfort and Mohawk were also at the party.

Frankfort-Schuyler Central Schools Superintendent Robert Reina tells NEWSChannel 2 that there is no evidence that any Frankfort players were at the party.

Reina adds that all other Homecoming weekend activities in Frankfort are going on as planned, including Friday afternoon's pep rally and Saturday night's Homecoming Dance, and he says the recognition of the Senior Court and Senior Athletes will be made at a girl's soccer game in October.

Meanwhile, Herkimer Superintendent Gary Tutty says he has asked his coaching staff to give the Herkimer players the opportunity to come forward, and if they don't, and are found to have been at the party at a later date, they will face stiffer disciplinary action than just a one game suspension, most likely be suspended for the entire season, and maybe more if those involved are upper classmen,

Finally, Interim Mohawk School Superintendent Gene Beirne did not return our calls.

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