In Week 4, while interviewing Staples players and coaches about their upcoming game against Ridgefield, Marce Petroccio and Jack McFarland tell me that Naples has been going to Greenwich’s games.
To be honest, I was surprised at first but it made sense. This was, after all, Florida football we were talking about. I didn’t think much more of it.
Almost two weeks later, during the Darien-St. Joseph game, I saw and asked the Trumbull coaches about it. Yep, they said, Naples had been at McDougall for their game against Greenwich, too. They said had actually talked to the Naples people personally.
Finally, looking for a note last week, I called to ask Rich Albonizio. “I heard that Naples coaches or people associated with the school had been scouting your games,” I said.
Not only that, Coach Al said, but taping them, too.
Now, while this isn’t allowed in Connecticut, for the longest time the FCIAC has agreed to bypass that statewide policy and has been pretty liberal with game taping. Their reasons are simple: instead of encouraging the shadier coaches from trying to break the rule, they allow everybody to tape in the spirit of comraderie. Makes sense.
So, last week Albonizio said looked into Florida’s bi-laws, saw that it wasn’t allowed. He said decided to call Naples to see if he could give a camera to a vacationing friend to have Naples’ next game taped anyway. After all, Albonizio said, they didn’t make it a secret that they had taped his game.
Albonizio said not only did Naples deny the request, they denied they had ever taped his games.
Long story short, we pretty much left it at that. I figured it would be a good story come the week of Nov. 9 when Greenwich boarded a plane and headed down to southwestern Florida.
Then, came reports that Greenwich, with the help of McMahon AD and FCIAC president Joe Madafferi, confiscated the video equipment of an elderly couple attempting to tape the game during Saturday’s 44-14 Greenwich victory over the Senators at Jack Casagrande Field. Somewhere in the vicinity, were Naples assistant coaches who deny being involved.
Wow. We had ourselves a story. But when I finally followed up with a phone call for a notebook item on Wednesday night, Albonizio told us it had already blown up as a full-fledged story in Naples on Tuesday.
This was unbelievable on so many different levels, and asks more questions than it answers:
Naples Daily News: Naples High, Greenwich football coaches putting videotaping allegations behind them
News-Press of Fort Meyers: Naples draws ire of Connecticut foe
For New Haven County readers, here’s our expanded high school football notebook item on ‘Tapegate’ which did not appear in your print editions.
In talking to Albonizio, Greenwich AD Gus Lindine and Madafferi over the past few days, they’ve all assured me the worst is over.
But is it? Is it really?
In the meantime, please drop the derisive NVL/SWC vs. FCIAC/SCC stuff guys. It’s pointless and annoying. Show some state solidarity and discuss this instead.