PSAL Expands Athletic Programs for Communities of Color

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With the Department of Education, fifty schools have less than six athletics teams. However, the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) just unveiled the PSAL All-Access Program. The league designed the four-part initiative to expand student access and participation in sports. By Spring 2023, the PSAL hopes to expand access across twenty-five sports.

In the lawsuit Moises Jimenez v. New York City Department of Education, students of color sought greater access to PSAL activities. In the formal complaint filed, the plaintiffs claimed that the PSAL and DOE had, ‘violated the New York City Human Rights Law because they treated Black and Latino high school students unequally by making fewer sports teams available to them.’

Within the Department of Education, some schools can afford over forty PSAL teams. Historically, many schools in communities of color have less than six teams. This disparity in access to PSAL programs disproportionately affects black and Latino students within the DOE. Prior to Mayor Eric Adams being in office, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg broke up large high schools, likely causing resource disparities. Resources limitations made funding, facility access, and filling rosters difficult. 

According to the PSAL, they seek to “increase access to PSAL programming for schools that have traditionally been underserved.” PSAL contacted nine high schools without programming. The organization said that they can host two new teams. New teams can utilize the recent funding boost to create a minimum of six teams for each school.

The Shared Access Program (SAP) creates collective athletic programs of multiple high schools’ athletic programs. This increases student access to PSAL sports. The Individual Access initiative allows students to access sports at other schools. Host schools offer the students a chance to try out and participate, giving every student an honest chance at playing a sport they enjoy.

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