By Nicole Bode
DNAinfo Associate Editor
MANHATTAN – The Downtown Giants demand a refund.
After being forced to forfeit their national championship title because of a paperwork error, Manhattan’s only youth football team wants the American Youth Football league to refund their travel expenses for the heartbreaking trip to Orlando, Fla.
“We would like a reimbursement of all costs associated with our travel to the (AYF) National Championships. As I have stated, we would not have traveled to Florida if AYF and its Regional office did not tells(sic) us that our paperwork was perfect,” Giants coach Julian Swearengin wrote in an e-mail to AYF Commissioner Bill Brown Thursday.
“In reliance on those assurances and AYF accepting our application and roster via the AYF website, we spent more than $10,000 only to be told we were ineligible to compete for the championship.”
“We will send you a final tally of our travel expenses and will expect immediate reimbursement,” Swearengin’s e-mail concluded.
The Giants blazed their way past both teams in their midgets bracket at the AYF playoffs this week, but had to accept third place because the league cited a problem with their roster.
The AYF claims the team’s official, sealed roster submitted back in October was five players short of their current roster, a violation of league rules.
But AYF Commissioner Brown admitted to DNAinfo on Wednesday that no one alerted the team about the discrepancy until they arrived at the check-in table in Florida last Saturday, due to the number of teams and players in the competition.
Brown said he had not seen the e-mail. But he said he stood by his decision to disqualify the Giants from playing for the National Championship title.
“It seems as though they’re trying to twist the story that they did nothing wrong. The fact is we have a rulebook that they did not follow, irregardless of what they say,” Brown said.
“I think that we did everything we could as an organization to at least give them a way to make it work for the kids having traveled all this way, understanding that it was a mistake. But we can’t go back on our integrity because they weren’t able to follow the rules,” he added.