NYC high school basketball championship canceled amid eligibility scandal

New York City’s Public Schools Athletic League canceled a varsity boy’s basketball championship game on Friday after an audit found teams violated age limit and academic eligibility rules, according to Schools Chancellor David Banks.

Brooklyn high schools South Shore and Eagle Academy II were slated to play the league’s 4A title game, but the game was called off after South Shore was disqualified over violations “related to age eligibility,” Banks said in a statement on Saturday.

Officials launched a full audit of the league after basketball players at Thomas Jefferson High School, also in Brooklyn, were found to be academically ineligible earlier this month ahead of another playoff game.

Banks said the inquiries were made by PSAL’s eligibility office, which was recently reinstituted for the first time since the COVID pandemic.

“For years prior to this administration, PSAL eligibility auditing was allowed to languish, fostering a culture among some of our athletic programs that skirted or outright flouted academic and other eligibility requirements to play student-athletes who were not eligible,” said Banks. “This will not be tolerated under this administration.”

An education department spokesperson did not clarify which specific rules were broken, and would not say who was named the champion of PSAL’s 4A boy’s basketball playoffs.

“Adults put the long-term future of young people second for momentary high school glory on the court,” said Banks. “These adults are not helping students, they are only helping themselves.”

The coaches of the two disqualified teams did not immediately respond for comment on their suspension from the tournament.

Banks said that the PSAL eligibility office will begin creating a new plan to check eligibility requirements for the upcoming school year that “goes beyond random audits.”

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