Long Island Interscholastic Athletic League

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The Long Island Interscholastic Athletic League was the second most prestigious early league in the New York metropolitan area after the New York Interscholastic Athletic Association. The membership was a combination of public and private schools in Brooklyn, Queens, and other areas of Long Island. The league was formed in the fall of 1893, with four schools competing in football—Boys High of Brooklyn, Adelphi Academy, Polytechnic Institute, and Bryant & Stratton Business College. By the time of the league’s first track and field meet the following spring, three more schools had entered the league—Latin School, St. Paul’s, and Pratt Institute. The entrance of the venerable eighteenth century school, Erasmus Hall, into the league in 1898 added a second public school to the eight team league (Erasmus Hall was founded in 1787 as a private school, but in 1896 was added to the Brooklyn school system as a public school).

The first year the league sponsored football, track and field, baseball, and tennis. Particularly notable was the league's aggressive adoption of winter-time sports, having added handball, basketball, ice skating, indoor track, and ice hockey before the end of the decade. The league was begun and administered by the students of the various schools, and only deferred to adult supervision in establishing sites for the various events, namely indoor and outdoor track and field sites and indoor arenas for basketball, handball, and ice skating and hockey competition. As was the nineteenth century custom, the students at each school formed an athletic association to sponsor and organize competition. Delegates from each school association then met in league meetings to arrange schedules and organize interschool competition. Most all the competition was conducted at a loss. The winning school in each sport was usually awarded 25 dollars to purchase a trophy.

In the first years after the turn of the century there was some conflict with school administrators over regulation and control of the league. After the formation of the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) in 1903, the Long Island League quickly faded. In the fall of 1904, not all the schools were even scheduled to play each other, and no football champion was reported by the New York Times. The Brooklyn Boys' football championship in the fall of 1906 may have been the last league football champion. The Polytechnic Prep football championship in the fall of 1908 was probably a titular title, although the New York Times reported it as a league championship. The last league contest appears to have been the outdoor track and field meet of 1907, in which only Erasmus Hall and Polytechnic Prep participated.

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