Ocean’s Tyler Thompson Denied Request for Early Weigh-In at District 22 Tournament
LITTLE SILVER -- A request to allow Ocean senior Tyler Thompson the opportunity to weigh-in 90 minutes early Saturday morning to accommodate a mandatory SAT test was denied by the NJSIAA, according to head coach Cippy Apicelli.
Thompson, who is a standout running back, has a football scholarship to the University of Massachusets-Amherst (UMass) and the school is requiring he complete the test on Saturday before the testing format changes to a new format. Saturday is the last day of the old format, according to Apicelli. Thompson was originally scheduled to take the test on Jan. 23, but it was postponed due to the powerful snowstorm that dumped upwards of two feet of snow on New Jersey.
When the District 22 coaches at the seeding meeting on Wednesday night asked why Thompson wasn't up to be placed in the 195-pound bracket, Apicelli told them of the issue. They collectively proposed letting Thompson - assuming he won his quarterfinal bout - weigh-in with the three other semifinalists at 6:30 a.m., leave to take his test and forfeit his 10 a.m. semifinal bout while he takes the SAT, and return for the third-place bout at 2 p.m. to try to secure a trip to the Region VI Tournament.
"Everybody was okay with that," Apicelli said. "Not one person had anything negative to say."
Ocean then took the proposal to the state and NJSIAA executive director Steve Timko, where it was shot down.
"We went to (NJSIAA liaison) Doug Bower, who went to the state with it," Apicelli said. "I got a call the following morning (Thursday) that they are not making any accommodations. I wasn't given a reason. I was hung up on. I wrote an email and received no answer other than 'we're not making any accommodations'."
Thompson was 21-4 this season and enjoying a comeback season after breaking his leg during the 2014 football season. He missed the final four weeks of that season, plus the entire 2014-2015 wrestling season. He returned this autumn to rush for 1,572 yard and 21 touchdowns to help Ocean finish 9-2 and reach the semifinals of the Central Jersey Group III playoffs, and was a Shore Sports Network first-team All-Shore selection. He is one of six Shore Conference players to sign with FBS football programs.
Aside from being disappointed at the NJSIAA's decision, Apicelli took issue with being told there was another SAT available to take on Sunday, when apparently there is not.
"We were told there was a Sunday SAT, which there is not," Apicelli said. "Steve Timko told me there is a Sunday SAT in Westfield, but it turns out there is none. There is an SAT at a school in West Orange that you had to tell them about on Jan. 25 because it was moved for religious reasons. That doesn't apply to Tyler. His was moved because of the snowstorm."
"That's the story. Now his career is over."
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