No June Scholastic Basketball Event in New York for 2019

January 9, 2019

As previously reported by Adam Zagoria, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) and the Basketball Coaches Association of New York (BCANY) will not be hosting a scholastic basketball event in June 2019.

Following the winter meetings of the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS), Dr. Robert Zayas, Executive Director of the NYSPHSAA, confirmed to HS Box Scores NYC that the NYSPHSAA and the New York State Basketball Coaches Association would not be hosting an event in the initial year because of the restrictive criteria imposed by the NFHS.

On October 31, 2018, the NFHS announced that "[p]articipants involved in the June Scholastic Basketball Evaluation Events must be from a member state association school, and team events shall include only member state association schools." The criteria has been met with significant public criticism, primarily because the rules would exclude players from national basketball notables such as Oak Hill Academy in Virginia and La Lumiere in Indiana.

However, the NFHS criteria would create a conspicuous anomaly in New York because, among other things, all high school players in New York City would effectively be excluded from participation. In New York State, the only association that is an official NFHS member is the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA). In New York City, high school basketball teams fall into one of three associations: the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL), the Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) and the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS), none of which are NFHS members. According to the NFHS website, the CHSAA and the NYSAIS are affiliate associations, but not members.

The end result of these classifications is that, under the NFHS criteria, any high school basketball player who plays for a New York City high school would be ineligible to participate in the June scholastic basketball events for the mere reason that the player's school is not part of the NYSPHSAA. Household names in high school basketball, such as public school powerhouses Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, and CHSAA stalwarts Archbishop Molloy and Christ the King, would be excluded.

The NFHS criteria would also exclude CHSAA and NYSAIS teams outside of NYC, including Long Island, such as continual New York State Federation Tournament contender Long Island Lutheran.

The NFHS criteria is so restrictive that it has caused the NYSPHSAA and BCANY to forego hosting a New York event altogether in the inaugural year.

It is worth noting that the NYSPHSAA, the PSAL, the CHSAA and the NYSAIS are all members of the New York State Federation of Secondary Schools, which oversees the Empire State's basketball tournament. The Constitution of the New York State Federation provides that one of its purposes is to ensure that all member schools comply with the Regulations of the New York State Commissioner of Education regarding interscholastic athletic competition. This oversight alliance is irrelevant for purposes of the NFHS scholastic basketball event criteria because the New York State Federation is not a member of the NFHS, only the NYSPHSAA is.

Ironically, the recent NFHS winter meetings were held in the Big Apple, notwithstanding the fact that the criteria would effectively bar all New York City high school players from the June scholastic events.

Dr. Zayas indicated to HS Box Scores NYC that the NYSPHSAA plans to continue to work with the NFHS in the future and is hopeful that a June scholastic basketball event in New York will be possible by June 2020.

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