Leading off today:
Christ the King's boys basketball coach has raised the possibility of boycotting the Federation basketball tournament next weekend because the PSAL has allowed two of its schools to play in a national event next month.
Joe Arbitello, coach of the two-time defending Federation Class AA champs, told BrooklynDaily.com that the PSAL decision to allow the Wings Academy boys and South Shore girls to play in the Dick's Sporting Goods High School Nationals starting April 2 flies in the face of a Federation rule against playing in more than one postseason tournament.
"How are we going to allow them to play as a part of the state association?" Arbitello said. "It's a joke. I may not go to it then. I may not show up. I'm not going to give them the benefit of playing us."
The eight-team boys bracket and four-team girls field feature some of the best teams in the country. Wings and South Shore won PSAL championships last weekend to qualify for the Federation tournament in Albany. The High School Sports Nationals start four days after the Federation tournament, the traditional end to the New York high school season.
Making it especially aggravating to Arbitello is the fact Christ the King agreed to host early-round games without being able to participate. History strongly suggested to him that other New York teams wouldn't be able to play either.
Boys & Girls and Murry Bergtraum sent teams to the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational in 2011 after the Federation tournament, setting off a controversy that saw CHSAA schools threaten to stop scheduling PSAL opponents. Raids of CHSAA rosters and a PSAL policy of allowing transfers from Catholic High School Athletic Association schools to gain immediate eligibility had already created hard feelings between the associations.
"Our kids and coaches are excited to play in this tournament and we're thrilled to give them this opportunity," said Department of Education spokesman Jason Fink.
The PSAL stance seems to be that the city's Department of Education regards the organization as a voluntary Federation participant, therefore free to make decisions affecting its own student-athletes. What that doesn't take into account is that the CHSAA, NYSPHSAA and AIS are equally free to boot the PSAL out of the Federation, with potential implications such as ending the New York City league's participation in other competitions such as track and field.
For what it's worth, South Shore coach Anwar Gladden wasn't sure his team was definitely playing in the High School Nationals until seeing a USA Today article this week.
R-H coach will step down: Steve Shepanski will step down as girls basketball coach at the conclusion of the unbeaten team's season, the Democrat and Chronicle reported. The Royal Comets take a 22-0 record into Friday's NYSPHSAA Class AA semifinal vs. Commack at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.