Don’t scale back sports access, advocates and students tell NYC

Don’t scale back sports access, advocates and students tell NYC

In late 2022, New York City’s Public Schools Athletic League made a bold promise: By the following spring, every public high school student would have access to all 25 sports the league offers.

To reach that goal, officials proposed expanding a program called “individual access” that allows students without a particular sports team at their school to try out for that team at a nearby campus.

The expansion was a game-changer for schools like the Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters that don’t have enough students to reliably field a wide variety of sports teams, said David Garcia-Rosen, the dean and athletic director of the 470-student school.

“In spring of 2023, every single kid in New York City, no matter where they went to school, had the opportunity to play whatever sport they wanted to play,” Garcia-Rosen said.

But Garcia-Rosen, a veteran advocate for sports equity in city schools, is worried that the Education Department is quietly laying the groundwork to scale back the initiative. And he’s gearing up for a fight. The dispute over individual access is the latest chapter in a long-running fight over sports equity in New York City schools.

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