NEWFANE, N.Y. (WIVB) - Shoplifting on a school trip has landed several Newfane High School baseball players in trouble with the law, their school and their team.
It's the kind of news a parent hates to hear. But the news was just as hard for a coach who treats his baseball players as his own.
"It broke my heart. I was in tears and I am probably going to start crying now," said Newfane Varsity Baseball Coach Jeff Kneeland.
The varsity baseball players were arrested for shoplifting sunglasses and other merchandise in Myrtle Beach last week. They were on the road for a baseball tournament with their coach and parents, but they were alone that evening when it happened.
"Well, let me tell you, the only ones to blame are the boys themselves," said one parent.
Each player has been suspended from school for three days, will serve 60 hours community service, and will be suspended for half of the season. The team had to forfeit its first two games to prepare junior varsity players to move up.
"It's a team sport and because it's a team sport, if half the team is missing the other half is going suffer for it," said Newfane Superintendent Christine Tibbetts.
The district will also forfeit all sectional play and the boys involved will not be eligible for any sectional or league awards. Some parents of the players who weren't involved say their actions have had a negative impact on the whole team.
"Why does my son and the other boys not involved have to be punished? Because of this decision it's basically ruined his chances of getting any sort of athletic scholarship," said one mother.
"Not only did it ruin our vacation and waste my money but it ruined my boys and three other boys baseball season which they look forward to all year long," said another baseball parent.
"I've known all these families and they've been supportive of me and I supported all of them. I hugged them all and told them it's just a sad thing to go out for the seniors on six games that mean nothing with no post season," said Kneeland.
The team has been going on this trip for more than a decade, but it's unclear if players will be allowed to go again next year.
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