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CHSAA advising players not to play in battle

The Catholic High Schools Athletic Association is advising its boys basketball players to not play in Funsport Inc.'s "Battle for the City" all-star game pitting the CHSAA's best against the top Public Schools Athletic League players this Saturday at Baruch College.

The league is wary of the ramifications the game might have on its athletes' eligibility in the future, as it says the game is unsanctioned. The event is also scheduled to include a freshman vs. sophomores contest, and Funsport Inc. CEO Rickey Rivers said the game will not harm the eligibility of the underclassmen.

"It's a non-sanctioned event and underclassmen can lose eligibility in high school," Archdiocese of New York President Rich Tricario said. "We're not involved with this and they're using our name, we never gave them permission. What happens if someone gets injured? If we sponsor something, we'll do it right. We can't sponsor something that isn't sanctioned."

The CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens league had a meeting Wednesday night and that's when the problems concerning the game came to light. Following the meeting, the entire CHSAA advised its respective schools to tell its players it would not recommend playing in the game.

Selected players like Holy Cross senior Mairega Clarke and Mount St. Michael senior Malik Gill said they are uncertain if they will play due to the league's recommendation.

Molloy sophomore CJ Davis will not play unless the game is sanctioned, according to Molloy head coach Jack Curran, while St. Raymond senior Daniel Dingle said he would honor his commitment to play.

The biggest concern of the league seems to be the eligibility issues of the underclassmen. League officials maintain that underclassmen are not allowed to participate in an all-star game unless there is a tryout, and it could cost them games next season. On Funsport Inc.'s website, the game lists the players as being selected for their achievements during the season.

"We don't want them to jeopardize their eligibility," Holy Cross coach and Brooklyn/Queens Chairman of Basketball Paul Gilvary said. "Only seniors are allowed to be chosen based on their performances in high school."

Rivers, who has organized the event, said he has not broken any rules or violated any bylaws. He added this the game would not affect seniors' eligibility for the NCAA as they are permitted two All-Star games to play in.

"Those who know the rules know there are no eligibility concerns for underclassmen, it's a control thing with them," Rivers said. "This doesn't put the underclassmen in jeopardy, there's no rule about participating in this game for NCAA or high school eligibility. The catholic league is trying to create things to make people think there is a rule."

The league has also taken umbrage with its name being used to promote the game.The Funsport Inc. website recently posted a statement to reflect that the CHSAA and PSAL have no affiliation with this game and should not be held responsible for it.

The Public Schools Athletic League, meanwhile, sees no issue. Boys & Girls head coach Ruth Lovelace, who is coaching the PSAL team, said her players will be involved in the game, although she planned to do some research in light of the CHSAA's advisory.

"This event is separate from the PSAL," New York City Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg said in an email. "It has no affiliation with either league. The event organizer made an error in the way it promoted the game saying it was between the two leagues as if the PSAL was part of the decision to hold the game. This is not an event the PSAL is sponsoring or is running. Since this is happening after the basketball season, the game would not violate PSAL or NCAA rules."

The game is scheduled to tip at 4 p.m. with "The Future Game" pitting the freshman vs. sophomores at 3 p.m. Admission is $5. The PSAL team is scheduled to feature Boys & Girls senior Leroy Fludd, Jefferson senior Thaddeus Hall and Lincoln sophomore Isaiah Whitehead, among others.