NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The vice president of the Board of Education said the school district first learned the football team would be sanctioned for using an illegible player by reading a news report that was published online.

Dale Caldwell said New Brunswick administrators are upset that they were not contacted last week when the Greater Middlesex Conference, citing New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association bylaws, forced the Zebras to forfeit their season-opening four victories.

The story was first reported by mycentraljersey.com, which is the online component of the Home News Tribune.

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"They hadn't talked to us about forfeiting the games before it was reported in the Home News," Caldwell said. "That is a problem. That is a problem. That really bothers me."

Caldwell said not only is he disappointed that the school district was not immediately notified of the sanctions, but he also was concerned that student-athletes had access to the online report before coach Nate Harris or other school officials had a chance to break the news to them.

Greater Middlesex Conference President Jeff DiCocco said it was brought to his attention last week that New Brunswick was using an ineligible player. He said he immediately contacted officials at New Brunswick High School to gather more information.

DiCocco said what he found was that a student transferred to New Brunswick High School in February. Under NJSIAA bylaws, he would have sat out the first 30 days of the season.

In the mycentraljersey.com article, DiCocco said it was "a shame" that the sanctions had been leveled since the team was off to a 4-0 start.

DiCocco did not respond to a message left by TAPinto New Brunswick seeking comment about the Greater Middlesex Conference's procedures in notifying schools.

The Zebras beat Monroe, Dickinson (Jersey City), Edison and Piscataway to get off to their best start since 2015. They have dropped their past two games to North Brunswick and Sayreville. As far as the conference is concerned, the team is 0-6 going into Friday's game against East Brunswick.

New Brunswick High School athletic director Craig Lowery has not responded to a message left by TAPinto New Brunswick seeking comment on the situation.

The Board of Education meets tonight at 7 at the high school.