Both the Southampton and Hampton Bays varsity football teams forfeited their final regular season games in Division IV last week, the result of unrelated incidents.
The Mariners (1-7) were scheduled to play Friday night at 6:30 p.m. at home against Mercy (1-7). The Baymen (2-6) were scheduled to travel to Greenport (6-2) on Saturday for a 2 p.m. game.
Southampton had already been eliminated from playoff contention—but the Baymen would have qualified for a spot in the postseason with a win over Greenport. The forfeit eliminated them from playoff contention and ended their season.
Neither district was willing to share even basic details about the forfeits or the reasons behind them, though Southampton hinted at allegations of “misconduct” in a statement on the forfeit, and a Hampton Bays official acknowledged a “pattern of behavior” among student athletes. The incidents do not appear to be related.
Southampton varsity head coach Edgar “Hikey” Franklin confirmed on Friday morning that his team’s game was canceled but declined to provide any additional details.
Southampton High School Principal Brian Zahn said of the forfeit: “What I can tell you is there was an incident reported to us that we are investigating and following up on. Because of the nature of our investigation, we felt it best that we just forfeit that game.”
Hampton Bays head coach Mike Oestreicher also confirmed on Friday afternoon that his team’s game was canceled, but also declined to provide any additional details.
The Mariners finished last in Division IV, while Hampton Bays finished ninth. The top eight teams make the playoffs.
Both schools have been tight-lipped about the situations. Southampton Athletic Director Darren Phillips and Hampton Bays Athletic Director Drew Walker both declined to comment on the situations.
A statement on the Southampton School District website states: “We are investigating and have taken preliminary action on an incident that was brought to our attention Thursday regarding the varsity football program. The safety and security of our student population is paramount, and we take reports of misconduct seriously. As a result of our preliminary actions, we were not able to field a complete team for last night’s final game of the season. As a district, we expect both students and staff to uphold high moral standards and exhibit positive character traits both on and off the field. As this is a pending investigation, we are not at liberty to provide further information at this time.”
On Monday, Lars Clemensen, the Hampton Bays School District superintendent of schools, said: “It came to our attention and the coaching staff’s attention that there was a pattern of behavior that we felt was unbecoming of how student athletes should act. Because this pattern was going on, we felt it was best to forfeit our final game of the year. It was not related to any other school district, as some are insinuating. We found out about it Thursday, two days before the game. I can’t elaborate any further, because it is a code of conduct matter, and it’s related to students, so we’re going to deal with it internally.”
When asked if it was a legal matter involving police, Clemensen said, “No, nothing like that, thank God. It was an isolated incident that revealed a pattern of behavior that we felt was unbecoming of a student athlete.”
Deirdre Gilligan, the media relations director for Syntax, a public relations firm that does work for both districts, also declined on Monday to provide any additional information.
Erin McKinley and Kyle Campbell provided additional reporting for this story.