High school football players suspended

Principal says discipline is in accordance with MIAA policy.

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The MVRHS football team. -File photo by Ralph Stewart

Several Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School football players have been suspended for two games for unspecified transgressions, principal Sara Dingledy confirmed in an email to The Times.

Details of what the student athletes did is not yet known. “Some football players have been suspended for two games in accordance with MIAA policies and our expectations of student athletes,” Ms. Dingledy wrote. “I have a lot of confidence in our football team and in the team’s coaching staff.

Ms. Dingledy did not immediately respond to specific questions about the suspensions, including how many students were involved or where the incident occurred.

In an email, football Coach Ryan Kent referred questions to Ms. Dingledy. “I appreciate your interest, however I am not willing nor able to discuss internal team matters or student/player discipline with those outside of our program,” he wrote.

Sources have told The Times the incident involved alcohol, but drugs may have also factored in. A police log entry from West Tisbury on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 10:15 pm includes entries for a medical emergency and a separate entry for “sale, delivery or furnishing alcoholic beverages to a minor.”

West Tisbury Police Chief Daniel Rossi said one person is being charged criminally for furnishing alcohol to minors. Because the individual is a juvenile, he would not release the name.

He confirmed a juvenile was also taken to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, but declined to say why, citing the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPPA.

“I have nothing to prove that there were or were not drugs there,” Chief Rossi said.

According to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) website, “a student shall not, regardless of the quantity, use, consume, possess, buy/sell, or give away any beverage containing alcohol; any tobacco product (including e-cigarettes, VAP pens & all similar devices); marijuana (including synthetic); steroids; or any controlled substance. This policy includes products such as ‘NA or near beer.’ It is not a violation for a student to be in possession of a defined drug specifically prescribed for the student’s own use by his/her doctor.”

The penalty for a first offense, after an investigation by the principal, is to be suspended for one-quarter of the season, according to the MIAA web site. For a football team, that would be two games.