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Statement from Schools Chancellor David C. Banks Regarding the 2024 PSAL Class 4A Boys Varsity Basketball Championship Game

  • Posted: Sat Mar 16, 2024

New York, NY – Schools Chancellor David C. Banks released the following statement following eligibility audits and disqualification of teams participating in the 2024 Public School Athletic League (PSAL) Class 4A Boys Varsity Basketball Championship game previously scheduled for Friday, March 15, 2024: 

Every student-athlete in New York City Public Schools is first and foremost a student – it is only through academics that our students will be set up for a secure, stable future. Let me be clear – as the leader of the nation’s largest public school system I expect every adult involved in the education of young people to hold themselves to the highest levels of integrity. Anything else is utterly unacceptable.  

“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. This will not be tolerated under this administration.

"Under this administration and the new leadership of Danny Harris, Senior Executive Director of PSAL, the league has reinstituted an eligibility office that, for the first time in four years, began performing random audits this year. Through this work, we recently found academic eligibility violations in the Thomas Jefferson Campus boys’ varsity basketball team, which disqualified them from the playoffs. Subsequently, I directed PSAL to conduct similar audits of other teams in the playoffs. While we found some schools who ran programs by the book, we found others who failed to follow the rules. Additionally, we found violations on the South Shore Campus boys' varsity basketball team related to age eligibility. The team is now disqualified from the remainder of the post-season, which includes last night's PSAL basketball championship game. We canceled that game.  

"In simple terms – adults put the long-term future of young people second for momentary high school glory on the court. These adults are not helping students, they are only helping themselves. 

“We referred each case to the Special Commissioner of Investigation, and we will not shy away from taking appropriate disciplinary action against any staff who chose to cheat in our athletic contests. Additionally, Senior Executive Director Harris will be building out a comprehensive, system-wide plan for checking eligibility requirements for the upcoming school year that goes beyond random audits. The goal is to ensure that any issues are identified and dealt with in a timely fashion prior to playoffs, thus avoiding last minute cancelations, which only harm students and their families. Student-athletes across our system deserve role models who uphold the highest levels of integrity and honesty.”