No one should be surprised. The Atlantic City High School Boys Basketball team is still banned from the upcoming New Jersey state playoffs.

When the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) hands down discipline … it is rare to win an appeal to reverse their decision.

You can appeal before what is called the NJSIAA controversies committee.

However, you will almost always lose your appeal, which Atlantic City High School did yesterday.

Atlantic City High School presented its appeal during a 4 1/2 hour process.

The Atlantic City Superintendent (La’Quetta Small), Athletic Director (Chris Ford, Jr.), head boys basketball coach (Wayne Nelson, Jr.) and Atlantic City Board of Education Solicitor (Tracey Riley) attended the hearing.

The ban stems from Atlantic City players leaving the bench during a time of heightened tensions during their recent game versus Mainland Regional High School.

Atlantic City won the game 48-47, however, the NJSIAA banned Atlantic City from both the state tournament and the Cape Atlantic League Championships.

The NJSIAA determined that only two Mainland Regional High School players left the bench during the Atlantic City game.

Mainland Regional High School remains eligible for the state tournament.

The NJSIAA suspension rule comes into play if three or more players leave the bench.

Mike Gatley is the Mainland Regional High School Athletic Director. We caught-up with him recently and he said all of the right things about this incident:

The NJSIAA has established an equity index that requires all member schools to adhere to protocols of sportsmanship and behavior in every athletic contest. Mainland, not only supports, but models and embraces, following proper contest procedures as the foundation to our education-based athletic programs and as prescribed by our state athletic governing body. The health, safety, and well-being of all those participating, officiating, and visiting our campus is of paramount importance and our number one priority, said Gatley.

If you missed our previous coverage about Atlantic City High School’s ban from the upcoming NJSIAA boys basketball tournament, here is a link to catch-up:

Read More: Atlantic City High Boys Basketball Ineligible for State Tournament

Following yesterday’s decision to reject Atlantic City’s appeal … there is only one last chance left.

Atlantic City can appeal the decision directly to the New Jersey State Commissioner of Education.

Multiple Atlantic City sources have told me that they will make this final appear to the Commissioner of Education.

Following two (rare) losing seasons, the Atlantic City Boys Basketball team is highly competitive and one of the best teams in South Jersey.

Time is of the essence, as the state tournament begins on February 21, 2014.

The deadline for a decision of the Atlantic City appeal is even more compressed, as the NJSIAA seeds the entire tournament on February 13, 2024.

The top 16 teams in each group will qualify for tye NJSIAA state tournament.

As of now, Atlantic City is on the outside looking in.

You should consider Atlantic City’s direct appeal to the state Commissioner of Education to be a real long shot.

If past is prologue, the state and the NJSIAA have typically stood together firmly over many years.

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