NEWARK, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) – A judge has upheld the suspensions of nine New Jersey high school football players who are seeking to play in a state championship game Saturday.
Attorneys for the players from Wayne Hills High School and the Wayne school district argued the case before Administrative Law Judge Ellen Bass in Newark Thursday. Bass upheld the suspensions and will forward her finding to the state’s education commissioner for a final decision.
It will be in the hands of the Commissioner to decide whether or not to allow the players to play in Saturday’s State Championship game. A decision was not handed down by the Commissioner on Thursday.
A superior court judge had previously denied a motion to stay the suspensions.
The players were suspended based on accusations that they beat up two students from rival high school Wayne Valley following an October house party.
The football players, eight juveniles and one adult, are facing assault charges stemming from the fight.
Lawyers for the nine players say they are innocent until proven guilty and that barring them from this Saturday’s game will do irreparable harm.
“If these kids don’t play, everyone is going to know who they are and five months from now, a lot of these cases are going to be dismissed,” said attorney Ronald Ricci.
Attorneys for the players are demanding that the suspensions be lifted until after the charges are addressed.
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