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Friday, Feb. 1, 2013: PSAL tightens eligibility standards

   Leading off today: The PSAL is tightening its eligibility requirements, but it still may not be enough for New York City athletes to make the cut in college under harsh new NCAA rules.

   PSAL changes taking effect next fall include an increase in the number credits earned over the previous two semesters from eight to 10 and an attendance policy that requires students to be in class 90 percent of the time instead of the current 80 percent, The New York Daily News reported.

   “I’m a big supporter because I believe we should hold student-athletes to a higher expectation,” Lincoln AD Renan Ebeid told the paper. “I think it’s a good idea and I guess we’ll see what happens. Student-athletes are the role models for our kids. So it’s very good. I just think the first year, the transition year, might be a little bit challenging.”

   New York City Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the changes are part of an effort to make sure all students are better prepared for college.

   “We want to continue our progress and are making changes to the requirements for PSAL to reflect the higher standards so that all our students are college- and career-ready when they graduate from high school,” he said in a statement.

   Showdown rescheduled: The Division I hockey contest between No. 1 Cicero-North Syracuse and No. 2 Rome Free Academy scheduled for Friday has been postponed because of weather concerns, The Post-Standard reported.

   The contest is rescheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Kennedy Arena. C-NS is on an 18-game winning streak since dropping its opener to RFA 3-1 on Nov. 20.

   Trouble brewing? A rift between Isaiah Whitehead and Lincoln coach Dwayne "Tiny" Morton may by why the highly regarded guard was benched for the final three quarters of the Railsplitters' 68-51 boys basketball win over East New York Transit Tech on Thursday, The New York Daily News reported.

   Whitehead scored five points in the first quarter before being benched.

   Neither Morton nor Whitehead commented after the game, but Railspitters senior forward Elijah Davis said that “emotional problems” between the two led to the benching.

   “It’s nothing. (Whitehead) will be back next game,” Davis said after scoring 21 points.

   Coach on leave: First-year Saratoga boys basketball coach Jack Brock has been placed on temporary leave from coaching. the school district announced Friday.

   The measure is the result of Brock using “inappropriate language” with the team, the district said in an announcement that did not specify how long Brock’s suspension will last.

   Assistant coaches Damian Fantauzzi and Greg Goering will run the team in his absence, beginning with Friday's game vs. Shenendehowa. Brock will continue to teach elementary school physical education, The Saratogian reported.

   “This is an unfortunate situation,” Superintendent Michael Piccirillo said in the statement. “We hold all of our employees and students to high standards of behavior, and they are held accountable when they fail to meet those standards.”

   Scary moment: Newburgh Free Academy junior center Jakwan "Slinky" Jones suffered a gruesome right leg injury while trying to defend a dunk during the fourth quarter of a 55-54 loss to Middletown on Wednesday night and underwent surgery in Poughkeepsie the following day.

   Jones was trying to block a dunk by Travis Cook with 4:20 remaining and landed hard on his right leg. The Times Herald-Record reported that the broken bone pierced

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Jones' skin.

   Jones should be able to return home over the weekend. "I walked Jakwan to surgery," NFA coach Matt Brown told the paper. "He was OK, he was upbeat a little bit. But he's upset, he is a little mad. I think he just wants to get out of the hospital."

   Milestones: Mount Vernon boys basketball coach Bob Cimmino won his 400th game Thursday as the Knights defeated Scarsdale 75-50. Cimmino has picked up 13 Section 1 and six NYSPHSAA championships in 19 seasons while building a 400-72 record.

   “It was nice to play really well today,” Cimmino told The Journal News. “It was a nice little present. I honestly don’t care about the 400 at all, but everybody’s happy so I’m happy, too.”

   Peru senior Troy Seymour become Section 7's first wrestler to reach 200 career wins with a pin 1:45 into his 170-pound match Wednesday vs. Saranac. Seymour is a three-time sectional champion.

   Suspended: Nazareth AD Anthony Barnes told The New York Daily News he won't appeal point guard Bianca Cuevas' two-game suspension handed down by the CHSAA after the junior star allegedly threw a punch at an opposing player during last week's loss to Bishop Loughlin.

   Cuevas, who was ejected after she got tangled up with Loughlin’s Jasmine Alston with :17 to go, will miss Friday’s game against Mary Louis and Sunday’s contest vs. Bishop Ford.

   Closing: Blessed Sacrament/St. Gabriel is the latest school to announce it will be closing its doors at the end of the school year. The word came down came Tuesday from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.

   Enrollment at the New Rochelle school had dropped to just 200 students.

   Extra points: Defensive coordinator Mark DeCristoforo will move into the top job following the retirement of St. Peter's head football coach Mike Cosentino after 13 seasons. Cosentino, 58, finished with a 69-61 record.

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