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Pittsburgh Pro-Am summer basketball league canceled

| Thursday, June 22, 2017, 4:57 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Rozelle Nix, at left, and Gateway graduate and IUP senior Devon Cottrell battle on the boards during the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Summer Pro-Am league Monday, July 11, 2016 at Montour High School.

The Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am League, which had been a summer staple since 2006, has been canceled for the second time in three years — this time due to an insurance certification issue, club president John Giammarco said.

Giammarco said he was unable to meet the NCAA's deadline for submitting the paperwork — 45 days before the event — that would allow Division I athletes to participate. Pitt, Duquesne and Robert Morris players typically join the eight-team league.

The tournament was scheduled to run July 6-19 at Montour High School.

Giammarco said he renewed the insurance for this year's league, but he didn't receive the new certificate until May 25. He wasn't able to get the application to the NCAA until May 30, missing the 45-day window by a week.

In previous years, he had sent the old certificate with the application, pending receipt of the new one, but asked the NCAA last year if he could streamline the process and send it once.

“What I was trying to do is do it more efficiently,” he said. “I didn't realize (the NCAA's interpretation) meant they weren't budging on the 45 days.”

Giammarco said it's not feasible to start the league later in July, due to college players' desire to go home before the start of the fall semester.

The league regularly attracts 75 to 80 players from Division I and Division II programs and some pros returning from Europe.

Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said the league has been important for his players to keep an edge during the offseason.

“It's a chance for our guys to play against high-caliber competition while they're here taking summer classes,” Toole said.

Toole said an alternative will be for his players — coaches aren't allowed on the premises — to organize games with their Pitt and Duquesne counterparts or, possibly, play in a league when they go home.

Giammarco said he expects the league to resurface next year.

“I will go about the business of changing how we do this in the future,” he said.

The league was canceled in 2015 when then-Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said he didn't have enough healthy players able to compete.

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