The Catholic league’s move toward loosening it restrictions on transfers is long overdue and makes sense with the recent downward trend in enrollments.
The playing field is nearly even with the Public School Athletic League after the Archdiocese of New York’s principals voted to allow boys from area public schools to transfer into Catholic schools from their freshmen through junior years and suit up without penalty in all sports. In the past athletes would have to sit out a full season, but a Catholic school kid could go to a public school and play right away.
The Archdiocese’s girls’ teams have been operating under that rule for the last two years, according to Monsignor Scanlan athletic director Tom Catalanotto. The Brooklyn Dioceses’ principals have yet to vote to the change rule for their teams and do not meet until October, according to sources. Adopting the same rule as its fellow dioceses and the Catholic High School Football League needs to be done.
“There are so many legitimate transfers you don’t want to discriminate against anybody,” said Xaverian boys’ hoops coach Jack Alesi, who prefers kids to play four-years at his school.
While you hope more relaxed rules don’t lead to any more kids leaving schools for another, the reasoning behind the change is sound. From a principal’s standpoint, you want to encourage kids to stay in and come to your school. As a coach, you hope it does the same with your team — if a kid leaves you at least there’s a chance to have another come in to fill the void.
“I think the way the principals are looking at this is they don’t want athletics to be the reason that a kid doesn’t transfer,” Catholic boys’ basketball chairperson Paul Gilvary said.
The Catholic league has long prided itself on having stricter rules than the public schools as far as academics and transfers, but times change. I’m also sure the league’s hoops coaches were tired of seeing their players bolt for area public schools. Kamari Murphy left Bishop Ford for Lincoln. James Padgett went from Xaverian to Lincoln and Thaddus Hall switched from Bishop Loughlin to Thomas Jefferson in the last five years. On the baseball side, Kevin Martir won a city title with Xaverian in 2011 and a year later was hoisting a public school crown with Grand Street.
“Our model was to be a little different than the public schools, but I guess it was not fair,” Bishop Loughlin boys basketball coach Ed Gonzalez said. “It was being done so many times.”
The previous transfer rules were in place to try to limit recruiting and sports-motivated transfers across the league. It is now up to the schools to curtail any possible recruiting and accept transfers who fit with the student body.
“Can they afford the tuition?” Nazareth boys’ basketball coach Todd Jamison said. “Will the school accept you as a transfer? How are your academics?”
The chances of this change seeing top players moved between the city’s power programs is unlikely, but you could see a trickle up effect of kids looking to play at higher level with greater exposure. The effects of such a change remains to be seen, but it is one that needed to be made.
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