Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
It looks like the PSAL’s participation in the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational will be a one-and-done affair.
The boys team from Brooklyn Boys & Girls and the girls team from Murry Bergtraum both participated in the event last spring — marking the first appearance by New York City teams in the three-year old event. That sparked an uproar from New York’s three other athletic associations who considered the event unsanctioned.
Yet after a conference call Wednesday, the matter appears to have been resolved. The PSAL won’t be punished by getting shut out of next year’s state Federation basketball tournament, and PSAL teams won’t participate in the ESPN event going forward.
“The New York State Federation member associations are satisfied with Mr. [Donald] Douglas‘ explanation of the PSAL’s participation in a recent non-sanctioned basketball event,” according to a statement read over the phone by St.Anthony’s (Long Island) athletic director and Federation President Don Buckley. “We appreciate his efforts to inform the membership, and although the Federation did not consider imposing any sanctions on the PSAL we are confident that this scenario will not occur in the future.
“As we move forward each of the four associations involved in the New York State Federation of Secondary Schools Athletic Associations are committed to working collaboratively to ensure all commissioner’s regulations that govern interscholastic athletic programs are observed in all other sports, including basketball.”
Both Davis, the director of the PSAL, and Margie Feinberg of the New York Department of Education declined comment.
In a worst-case scenario, had the PSAL said it would continue to participate in the event, various events featuring PSAL teams against CHSAA teams would’ve been in danger — including Jason Curry’s annual NYC Public League vs. Catholic League challenge. The SNY Invitational also features a mix of New York public and Catholic teams.
“I think the PSAL did what they had to do here,” Holy Cross coach Paul Gilvary said by phone. “They acknowledged that basically, ‘I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.’ I think if they had come out and said, ‘You know what, we’re going to go back to that tournament again this year. We don’t see anything wrong with it.’ I think then there would’ve been a big problem.
“Fortunately, they didn’t do that. And I think that’s all the other three members wanted was that we’re all playing by the rules that we agreed to play by.”
Gilvary said he would be in favor of New York City teams being allowed to participate in the ESPN event — but that the rules would have to change.
“That would take a change in the existing rule, which I don’t think there’s been any great support of changing that rule,” he said. “I mean, we’ve been invited many, many times to the Alhambra [Catholic Invitational] Tournament — all of the schools in our league have, pretty much — and we always have to decline because we’re not allowed to play in that tournament based on the rules we have.
“Granted that’s not on ESPN but it’s the same idea. So I don’t know that there would be that much support to change the rule, but if they did change it then certainly I wouldn’t have any problem with anybody playing in it because then it’s within the rules that we agreed to play by.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.