The highly anticipated boys basketball game between Annapolis and Archbishop Spalding has been canceled because Annapolis coach John Brady has "philosophical differences" concerning the transfer of junior standout Rudy Gay.
Gay, a 6-foot-6 swingman who averaged 12.5 points and 7.3 rebounds for Baltimore County's Eastern Tech last season, transferred in early September to Spalding, a private school in Anne Arundel County.
The Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association mandates that student athletes who transfer from one league school to another must sit out a season. There is no such rule for transfers of public schools students to MIAA schools.
Brady's decision to cancel the Feb. 3 contest, along with the concern of other coaches and officials, may spark the MIAA to change its policy concerning public school transfers.
"It is my understanding at this time that at least two member schools will propose that the association adopt a similar rule for transferring student athletes from public schools that currently exists for transfers between its 26 member schools," said MIAA executive director Rick Diggs in a prepared statement.
"This rule is similar to the NCAA rule mandating transferring student athletes be prohibited from participating in athletics for one calendar year from the time of the transfer. Unlike the NCAA, the MIAA does have a provision for appeal such as in the case of a geographical relocation."
Diggs said MIAA school principals could vote on such a change at their annual May meeting.
Said Spalding athletic director Lee Dove: "I would not have a problem with a transfer rule like that because it would dissuade kids from transferring for all the wrong reasons."
The Panthers' Brady informed Dove last Friday that he was canceling the game.
"John told me he had philosophical reasons with playing us because of the transfer and I respect his wishes," said Dove.
"I understand his thought process but the issue is, we scheduled the game last year and would have played the game whether the kid [Gay] came or not."
Said Brady: "I have philosophical differences about transfers and that's why I told Lee we no longer wanted to play the game. This has nothing to do with winning or losing. It's just something I feel strongly about."
With the rise of Spalding boys basketball in recent years, an Annapolis vs. Spalding meeting had been much ballyhooed in Anne Arundel County. It would match the county's perennial public school power with the Baltimore Catholic League/ MIAA A Conference power.
Spalding coach Mike Glick said that Gay transferred "for academic reasons," in order to qualify for Division I basketball.
"He loves the school, and his mom said our school has changed her son's life," said Glick.
Dove said that "Rudy is in our Aquinas program, which is for students who need extra help, and is doing very well."
Added Glick: "We had six transfers [from around the Baltimore Catholic League] play in our all-star games recently. Towson Catholic has a transfer from Africa. I have no other comment ... concerning Rudy and the canceling of the game."
A Division I prospect, Gay is being recruited by a number of colleges, including Maryland, Connecticut, Georgetown and Villanova.
Many other public school athletes have transferred to private schools. Just last year, Aberdeen's Gary Neal, a second-team All-Metro basketball player, transferred to Calvert Hall for his senior year.