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Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2015: Ten schools file suit over NYSPHSAA transfer rule

   Leading off today: Nine private high schools and one charter filed suit in state Supreme Court on Monday seeking to annul a new transfer rule, The Times Union reported.

   Six Albany-area schools are among those opposing the New York State Public High School Athletic Association's executive committee vote in October to alter three educational waivers for athletes changing schools.

   Under the elimination of the academic advantage waiver, a student transferring to a private school will be required to sit out one year beginning this fall, the paper reported. The NYSPHSAA's executive committee voted 19-2 on Oct. 23 to eliminate or alter three educational waivers.

   The Section 2 private schools filing suit are the Albany Academies, LaSalle Institute, Emma Willard, Doane Stuart School and the Academy of Holy Names in Albany. They're joined by the Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School and three Section 5 private schools: McQuaid Jesuit, Our Lady of Mercy and Lima Christian.

   Jonathan S. McCardle, an attorney for the Albany law firm Featherstonhaugh, Wiley and Clyne, LLP, said in October that several private schools were prepared to take the NYSPHSAA to court. "We were left with no other option," McCardle told The Times Union after filing a 12-page attorney affidavit and a six-page affidavit from Albany Academy AD Paul Gallucci.

   The schools filing suit claim there have been no complaints about the rules in question in the past three years, and that the new rules limit school choice and discourage parents and students from attending schools they feel are the best fit. A NYSPHSAA survey showed 132 transfers with academic waivers in 2011-2012, 177 the next year and 213 the year after that.

   "We believe parents have a fundamental right to oversee the upbringing of their children," McQuaid officials said in a statement. "Inherent in this right is the freedom to enroll their children in a private or religious school. We feel the amendments to the Transfer Rule are an inappropriate restriction on the fundamental right of parents and students to choose the education for which they are best suited."

   NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas said he didn't know how many students would be affected and it would apply only to a sport they'd played the previous year.

   "This is very much a membership initiative that they felt like would be in the best interest of the membership to eliminate the academic advantage waiver," Zayas said. "This is something that we discussed over a period of almost eight months."

   More changes at Canisius: Canisius High President Rev. Joseph Costantino told the faculty Tuesday he will resign at the end of the school year, a school spokesman confirmed to The Buffalo News.

   Costantino's resignation letter was accepted by the school's board of trustees, the spokesman said.

   A source told the paper Costantino read a short prepared statement, announced his resignation to the staff and then walked out of the meeting.

   His resignation comes just days after school officials announced policy changes in the wake of last fall's cheating allegations against all-sate football player Brad Zaffram.

   In an email to alumni, Costantino wrote, "In what I believe

is the best interest of Canisius High School, I have decided to resign from my position as president at the end of May. It is time for healing and a fresh start with new leadership.

   "As we all know, some of the changes I felt needed to be instituted at the school were embraced as long overdue; other decisions, or at least the execution of some of those decisions, were seen as confusing or unsettling. Unfortunately, some of my efforts - always motivated by what I thought was best for all - were unpopular."

   Costantino took over as Canisius president in July 2013.

   A fresh start? The Upstate vs. Downstate Classic, a football game for New York seniors, will be relaunched this spring, WBNG-TV reported.

   The New York State High School Football Coaches Association says the game will be played June 14 at an undetermined Section 4 site.

   The game made its debut in 2010 but went into mothballs after the 2012 contest in Syracuse. Sponsorship and scheduling have been significant obstacles in the past.

   More from Wednesday: We posted a blog earlier today to catch on other Tuesday news, including the 117-8 blowout in a PSAL girls basketball game and the new Section 2 career scoing leader in boys basketball.

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