ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) — Christian Brothers Academy has shown plenty of fight on the football field, winning back to back Section 2 Class AA titles. Now they’re taking that fight to the courts.
CBA is suing both the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and Section 2. The lawsuit seeks to overrule the decision to punish CBA for violating NYSPHSAA’s Recruitment and Undue Influence rule.
In January, Section 2’s Athletic Council voted unanimously to place CBA on probation for three years, and suspend the football for Week Zero of the upcoming season. CBA appealed the decision on March 14, but the appeal was denied by NYSPHSAA.
CBA filed the lawsuit in the Albany County Supreme Court through the law firm Girvin & Ferlazzo. The alleged violation stems from communication a junior varsity football coach had with the father of a student in the Saratoga Springs City School District. The lawsuit claims the communication is not a violation of the Recruitment and Undue Influence rule.
“Petitioner CBA did not ‘influence’ or attempt to ‘influence’ a student to transfer from one school to another. The Junior Varsity Coach did not ‘influence’ or attempt to ‘influence’ the student to transfer. The Junior Varsity Coach did not contact the student or his legal guardian. The Junior Varsity Coach simply inquired of the student’s biological father – who is not the guardian of the student – whether the student might be interested in visiting CBA. Such conduct does not constitute ‘recruitment’ under any definition, and it is certainly not recruitment as defined by NYSPHSAA’s rules as it was not directed at the student or his guardian or custodian and did not attempt to influence the student to ‘transfer. . . for the purpose of participating in athletics.'”
The lawsuit claims NYSPHSAA and Section 2’s decision was, “an abuse of discretion, lacking a sound basis in reason, and lacking a foundation in fact, insofar as they (a) were not supported by the facts or the law; and (b) were based upon a previously held bias by Respondents against Petitioner CBA.”
Section 2 had cited previous matters as additional grounds for the punishment levied against CBA, including a previous violation of the Recruitment and Undue Influence rule in 2019. The lawsuit claims that violation did not involve the football team, adding the issue, “…did not establish facts that demonstrated a violation of the Rule…”
NEWS10 reached out to NYSPHSAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Zayas, who wrote in a text, “I am not able to comment on pending litigation.”
CBA remains on probation. If they commit a violation during the probationary period, they could be subject to a postseason suspension.
The entire lawsuit can be viewed below: