The boys at Maspeth High School (MHS) will need to wait at least another year before their school can offer them any more sports teams, according to school officials.
The Public School Athletic League (PSAL) again denied requests for additional male sports teams, school officials said. For the last five years, MHS filed requests with the PSAL for boys varsity volleyball and junior varsity baseball teams, and a variety of other male sports teams, and have been denied year after year.
“We’ve been constantly applying,” said Jesse Pachter, MHS’s athletic director, who received the denial emails from the PSAL. “We’ve been approved for teams in the past; recently it has been for female sports teams. We have more than 100 male students interested specifically in JV baseball and volleyball.”
In lieu of boys volleyball and JV baseball teams, MHS has created volleyball and baseball clubs. These clubs, however, are not allowed to participate in the PSAL, meaning they very rarely get to face other teams and cannot be a part of the PSAL playoff format.
“It’s unfortunate that the male athletes at our school have been denied once again,” said Keith Powell, MHS’s union representative, in an email statement. “We have UFT members willing and able to coach teams in a competitive sports league.”
MHS currently has one co-ed team which makes up 1 percent of the high school’s total teams, 17 girls teams (63 percent) and only nine boys teams (33 percent).
Although enrollment at MHS is split 50-50 for girls and boys, sports participation is 62 percent for girls, while only 38 percent of boys participate in sports programs, school officials said.
In order to keep boys interested, MHS has their own self-funded JV boys baseball team. This, however, is less than optimal, Pachter said.
Since the team is not affiliated with PSAL, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find opponents who are willing to play against MHS, since the games will not be recognized by the league and will not count toward their record.
“We are kind of at a loss here. It’s all about the kids,” Pachter said. “We think the PSAL is fantastic, and we want the students to become more involved with the school. The problem is, since we aren’t getting more male sports teams, it is hard for that to happen.”
The Department of Education (DOE) has been working with MHS to create new sports teams, but many of them have been girls teams.
“We are dedicated to providing all students with the opportunity to play on sports teams and represent their school,” a DOE representative said in an email to QNS. “Participating in activities strengthens school communities, and over the past five years, the DOE has worked closely with Maspeth High School to create 26 new sports teams, more than half of which are girls teams.”
Pachter said that the league is prioritizing the creation of more sports teams in schools with little to no teams.
“The people who are really at a loss are the student population,” Pachter said. “And not having specific sports teams could prevent students from applying to Maspeth in the future.”