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Thursday, May 7, 2015: ADs say PSAL didn't warn them of possible sanctions
Leading off today: If a pair of New York City public school ADs have trouble lining up contests for next school year, they may have the PSAL to blame.
Wing Academy's boys and South Shore's girls played in the Dick's Sporting Goods High School National Tournament last month in New York City and as a result could be shut out of interstate competition next year as punishment.
According to the Community News Group chain in New York City, school officials say the PSAL didn't warn them about those consequences beforehand. South Shore AD Pat Trani said he was unaware of potential consequences of playing in the national event even though Robert Zayas, executive director of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, hand-delivered a letter spelling out the implications to Public School Athletic League Executive Director Donald Douglas on March 28.
As he clarified in an interview with the New York State Sportswriters Association on Thursday, Zayas has no direct authority over PSAL schools. However, the NYSPHSAA is the designated organization through which other National Federation of State High School Associations governing bodies verify a school's status when clearing them to play opponents from their respective states.
"In fairness to other states throughout the country, they are asking me, 'Do these schools abide by all the rules and regulations of your state?'" Zayas told CNG reporter Joseph Staszewski. "By participating in a national event, I can't in good faith say that they do for a period of one year."
Christ the King, which actually hosted early-round games in the national tourney last month, and Long Island Lutheran are among the schools that would have liked to play in the Dick's High School Nationals but had to decline because the CHSAA and AIS take the same view of the rules as the NYSPHSAA does.
The matter is headed toward an inevitable showdown next Wednesday when representatives of New York's four major high school bodies hold their scheduled Federation meetings. Unless the PSAL can offer a definitive paperwork trail proving compliance both with Federation rules and the regulations of the New York State Education Department, Wings and South Shore will likely remain viewed as rogue schools in the 2015-16 school year.
That has implications not only for basketball, but for major events such as the Penn Relays or in-season indoor track meets at The Armory, where governing bodies from other states might not want their students participating against athletes from schools labeled as out of compliance.
"That's up to all the other states," Zayas said.
It's to be seen whether the NYSPHSAA, CHSAA and AIS also ultimately shun the two schools or even the PSAL as a whole since there was a similar 2011 controversy with the PSAL.
With such huge implications, shouldn't the PSAL have kept the athletic directors in the loop? Wings Academy AD Michael Salvatore said he received no such heads-up.
"I was under the impression this was taken care of, everything was good," South Shore's Trani said. "Now we are the black sheep."
Worth a look: I've watched this video clip a dozen times and will probably watch it a dozen more today. Yes, it's that good.
On consecutive touches during a South Carolina boys soccer playoff game Tuesday night, James Island Charter teammates Yasir Al-Kameshki and William Le executed bicycle kicks that resulted in a goal during a 3-1 victory vs. Ashley Ridge in the Class AAAA tournament.
"The first bicycle kick is remarkable in itself, because it's so athletic," James Island Charter coach Todd Robinson said. "And then when Le follows it up so cleanly, on a 1-2 play like that ... it was amazing."
Weekend softball: If the winner is the team that emerges Saturday from the Anthony "Zimbo" Zimbalatti bracket, then the overall champion of the 35th annual James "Ace" Morabito softball tournament will almost certainly have to defeat four state-ranked teams.
Eleven teams enter the two-day event at the Mudville Softball Complex in Herkimer with a state ranking, including all four in the Zimbalatti Bracket: Victor (Class AA, No. 18), Malone (A, No. 18), Oneida (A, No. 19) and Valhalla (B, No. 6).
Mynderse, top-ranked in Class C and Troy, No. 2 in Class A are among the squads in the field. Defending champ Brockport, ranked 11th in Class A, is also scheduled to compete in the event, which guarantees all 16 squads two games apiece on Saturday and Sunday.
The tournament is the state's largest in-season event in the sport.
California ban moves forward: The California Assembly passed a bill to ban schools from using "Redskins" as a team name or mascot after legislators chided four schools that still use the name.
The California Racial Mascots Act next moves to the state senate for consideration. The bill would force schools to make the name transition by 2017 but also financial help for new supplies and signs.
"There is obviously a lack of respect when we allow teams to brand themselves with racial slurs," Assemblyman Luis Alejo told the Los Angeles Times last month. "The R-word was once used to describe Native American scalps sold for bounty, and in today's society it has become widely recognized as a racial slur."
Students and school officials defend the term's use by schools in Merced, Calaveras, Madera and Tulare counties.
"At no time in the 80 years that Gustine High School has proudly displayed the Redskins mascot has any disparaging or derogatory use ... taken place," town officials said in a letter obtained by the paper.
California legislators previously tried to ban the term in 2002; then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill in 2004.