Playing for two different schools during the same high school calendar year isn't allowed in New York. Unfortunately, for Biondi (Yonkers, N.Y.), such a roster snafu has cost the boys basketball team a sectional championship.
Biondi was stripped of its Section 1 title won Friday because of the eligibility status of standout Lance McDowell, the most valuable player of the sectional tournament. The senior was a first-team all-state selection for Mount Vernon during the football season, but plays basketball for Biondi. State governing body rules don't allow that arrangement.
"It's a state rule. They missed it – our schools missed it – and it's unfortunate," Section 1 Executive Director Jennifer Simmons told LoHud.com
. "Obviously, (Biondi) is devastated."
According to the report, the 6-foot-5, 275-pound McDowell plays football at Mount Vernon because Biondi, the school he attends for its academic programs, does not have a football team. Mount Vernon, McDowell's home district, filed paperwork regarding his football status in 2010.
Adding further intrigue to the issue is that McDowell played basketball for Biondi last season and also was the Class D tournament MVP, but his status wasn't questioned then.
"We didn't do anything that we deemed as shady or illegal," Biondi coach Bob Delle Bovi told the website. "You're talking about a high-profile kid. He was on the floor at the County Center last year and received the MVP award. Nobody knew about him?"
Biondi has appealed the forfeit. Pending a reversal of the decision, Greenburgh Academy (Yonkers, N.Y.), which Biondi beat 69-59, will be the Section 1 champion and advance to regionals.