Agreement near for N.Y., Maryland to compete

Deal would mean athletes from private schools here wouldn't face restrictions

High Schools

February 18, 2005|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

The state high school athletic associations of Maryland and New York are nearing an agreement that would allow athletes from Maryland's private and parochial schools to compete against their peers from New York.

Ned Sparks, the executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, announced the development last night after several months of discussions with the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.

"We think we have - at least verbally - come to an agreement that will solve most of the situation," said Sparks, who declined to elaborate on the details of the agreement until he had an opportunity to brief leaders of several non-public school athletic associations in Maryland. "We think it will open up the doors for the private schools."

Sparks said he will meet Thursday with leaders of, among others, the boys' Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and the girls' Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland.

The development is a departure from New York's enforcement of a regulation that forbade its member schools from participating in athletic events involving four or more schools if one of the schools or athletes is not a member of nor approved by their state's athletic associations.

New York schools found in violation of the rule could lose their eligibility for the rest of the season.

The policy prevented athletes such as Towson Catholic sophomore Devon Williams, Park freshman Elan Hilaire and Mount St. Joseph junior Garnell Hall from competing in several prestigious track and field meets in New York because the MIAA and IAAM are not members of the MPSSAA.

Yesterday, Pennsylvania and New York reached an agreement that permitted non-member schools from any state to compete against the New York schools in any event in any sport solely in Pennsylvania.

The development, first reported by PennTrackXC.com, clears the way for athletes from Maryland's non-public schools to participate at the Penn Relays against their New York peers.

Informed last night of the agreement between Pennsylvania and New York, Williams said she is still undecided about competing at the Penn Relays.

"I still have a lot of things open," said Williams, who is contemplating competing in her mother's native Jamaica and training with the United Stars Track Club in Philadelphia. "I haven't made up my mind yet."

Anita Hilaire, Elan's mother, said, "That's good news. It's still developing and hopefully, it will open up the door for everyone."

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