New York City high school Hoops fans lock themselves out of rivals’ home gyms

It’s an unsportsmanlike way of gaining home advantage.

Public high schools in New York City have banned fan attendance from their gyms, sometimes leaving frustrated parents at home watching their kids play games on social media.

Parents at Cardozo High School in Queens fumed to The Post that they were turned away from the door at rival Francis Lewis earlier this month after being an hour away from work, while a coach of Thomas Edison says his players’ parents are leaving were kept out of a game hill crest.

Cardozo also reportedly shut out opposing fans at a home game against John Bowne on Tuesday.

“My father followed me when I played sports,” complained Roland Judge, 62, who regularly attends away games to see and film his 17-year-old son Christopher, a Bowne player. “Being there for my son is the right thing to do.”

Legendary Cardozo basketball coach Ron Naclerio said some members of the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) began imposing blanket bans on away viewers last year.

Cardozo basketball coach Ron Naclerio
Cardozo basketball coach Ron Naclerio said the ban on away teams began last year and has continued at some schools.

The confusing ban was issued after the PSAL gave schools the option to allow visitors to indoor games again in October 2021.

Now, bans on visiting fans at basketball games remain in place without explanation at schools like Cardozo and Francis Lewis, although health concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic have largely faded.

“They’re taking advantage of playing this off about COVID and that’s BS,” barked Amina Wright, 48, whose son Isaiah, 18, plays point guard on Cardozo’s varsity basketball team. “You’ve overcome COVID, wrap it up.”

Cardozo basketball mom Amina Wright
Cardozo Amina Wright and other parents drove games away to see their kids play, only to be turned away at the door over visitation bans.
Cardozo basketball player Isaiah Wright
Cardozo point guard Isaiah Wright and his teammates have had to congregate in gyms with almost entirely hostile crowds during away games.

The suspensions have further strengthened the home field advantage of the teams. Visitors, meanwhile, are forced to rally against an almost entirely hostile crowd without the support of their biggest cheerleaders – their parents.

“One of my best players — his dad has to be in the car for some away games,” said Thomas Edison High School basketball coach Ryan Gompers. “He didn’t live up to his standards.”

The closed-door policy has seen home win records so far for ‘Dozo, who has recorded two wins and one loss in the budding basketball season that began in November; and Francis Lewis, who has won both home competitions.

Cardozo High School Gymnasium
Another disadvantage of the ban is that parents could not record their children’s performances.

While administrators are silent on the reason for the ban, some coaches and parents believe it could also be an attempt to stem violence in the stands between rival fans and rowdy parents.

“You have parents who yell at umpires, you have coaches who go out on the court,” said Louis Xifaras, a Queens high school basketball advisor. “It no longer feels like a safe environment to watch basketball games in New York City.”

Julius Allen, PSAL’s boys’ basketball commissioner, said he’s received complaints about coach bans on away-team fans and hopes the school board lifts the restriction.

“The coaches would like more [fans] at the game so we can have a great basketball environment,” Allen said.

The Department of Education and Administrators at Cardozo and Hillcrest did not respond to a request for comment. Francis Lewis’s headmaster, David Marmor, declined to comment, citing the school’s viewership policy, which stated the ban.

Additional reporting by JC Rice New York City high school Hoops fans lock themselves out of rivals’ home gyms


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