BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Bennett High School coaches, players and parents say they feel Section VI has waged an agenda against Bennett and have discriminated against the school in recent years. This time-the team’s playoff seeding is at stake.

“It’s very disheartening when you work all year long. You work in the classroom, you do what you have to for paperwork and once again–clerical issues to be taking wins away from you,” Khalil Cottman, Assistant Head Coach of Bennett High School Football, told News 4. “We respect the ruling of Section VI, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to contest when we disagree, and we disagree. Not just as a football program–but as the entire City of Buffalo.”

The tigers took to the field Saturday trying to put their issues with Section VI behind them. Bennett High was forced to forfeit six games because of an ineligible player. Transfer documents for that player from Sweet Home weren’t filed correctly.

But this isn’t the first time Bennett and Section VI have been at odds. Last year, Bennett was forced to play a playoff game against McQuaid Jesuit in Rochester, despite concerns of a COVID outbreak on that team.

“It does seem to be a pattern,” said Cottman. “I think this is where the discrimination and the civil rights concerns factor in. Every year it seems to be a ruling or something that doesn’t go in the favor of Bennett–we keep getting hit with more and more obstacles that don’t seem to be football related.”

Section VI has ruled the player eligible to play but the team’s record remains in question and whether those six wins will count towards their record. If the team receives their wins back, they would be the first seed in the division. If not, they’ll be in the fourth.

As the team hopes to hear back from Section Six early next week, Buffalo School Board has approved a motion to file a civil rights complaint against Section VI.

News 4 has reached out to Section VI, and we have not heard back from them for a comment at this time.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.