People complain in the background all the time about the workings of the Public School Athletic League, from parents to coaches to referees. Those people missed a rare chance to say it right to the PSAL’s top executives last week.
Executive director Donald Douglas and Eric Goldstein, the chief executive officer of the Office of School Support Services, were both at Prospect Heights High School last Wednesday to hear people’s concerns.
The event wasn’t well publicized — the best information on the meeting was on a basketball website that requires you to join its mailing list to see articles.
The meeting was then dominated by David Garcia-Rosen, the founder of the Small Schools Athletics League, who is furiously fighting to improve founding for school in poor and minority areas. His voice and others who share his opinion were properly heard.
However, the lengthy discussion kept other issues that affect the league’s more than 45,000 student-athletes from being addressed.
Here are just a few:
How do we better train school staff to get more athletes up to NCAA Clearing House standards so they can accept the scholarship offers they earn?
Too many talented kids fall through the cracks and have to go the junior college route or a prep school because they aren’t eligible to play right away — such as hoops stars Mike Taylor from Boys & Girls and Africa Williams of Benjamin Banneker, and Erasmus Hall football star Khalil Lewin, just to name a few.
How has having multiple smaller schools in one building like at Grand Street and Canarsie affected their athletic departments?
There is usually one principal in charge of sports and the athletic director may work at a different school in the building. Coaches potentially need to get players’ academic reports from guidance counselors at multiple schools, and kids often have different dismissal times.
Why is the PSAL pricing itself out of its games being broadcast regularly?
MSG Varsity didn’t renew its exclusive contract with the league in 2013. The new agreement was scuttled when the PSAL reportedly asked for $750–$1,000 per league-game broadcast. The only PSAL games currently broadcast are its championships on the High School Sports Network, where viewers must pay $9.95 for a day pass. Varsity is free. The PSAL is one of the few tri-state leagues not on Time Warner, Varsity or Verizon.
Why does the PSAL hinder the ability of fans to attend championship and playoff games?
Tickets are sold online for Class AA basketball championship games at Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center. For the football and baseball title games at Yankee Stadium, fans have to travel to the PSAL offices to request and pick up tickets.
The top-tier baseball and softball semifinals are regularly held at the College of Staten Island instead of a more central location, so fans from Brooklyn could pay the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll three times if the series goes that many games.