Leading off today:
A recent rules change should lend a boost to next month's seventh annual Summer Hoops Festival in Johnson City.
Syracuse.com reported Friday that the Basketball Coaches Association of New York has relented and will allow teams to use players who have expressed their intentions to attend out-of-state schools this fall.
That should bolster several rosters -- none more so than the Central New York team, which would otherwise be without Buddy Boeheim of Jamesville-DeWitt, Mika Adams-Woods of Bishop Ludden, Tyler Bertram of Cooperstown and Symir Torrence of Syracuse Academy of Science. Boeheim, Adams-Woods and Bertram were on the 2016 roster.
"Our reasoning is that we cannot apply an eligibility standard to events that haven't yet occurred," tournament director Kurt Ehrensbeck wrote in an email to coaches. "Various circumstances can cause families/players to change their mind about transferring to another school. Instead, we determined that a player's eligibility for the Hoops Festival would be determined based on the school that he or she attended and played at during the prior school year."
This year's Summer Hoops Festival is scheduled for Aug. 4-6.
Still waiting: Borrowing from a bygone era in which the "Saturday Night Live" writers and cast delivered sketches that have stood the test of time rather than taking the lazy way out with topical political humor, the Democrat and Chronicle reports that -- (Warning: old-guy reference ahead) -- Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.
Well, not really. What the paper reported is that University Prep has still not received a verdict on its appeal to the New York State Education Department in the dispute over whether sectional classification committees can force charter schools to move up to higher classifications based upon recent program success and an evaluation of projected returning players.
(For background, you can check out this blog from when the New York State Sportswriters Association broke the story on Jan. 17.)
NYSED is famously slow for issuing rulings on appeals, but the slow boat Commissioner MaryEllen Elia is driving on this one is doing no favors to UPrep and Section 5. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association obviously is also an interested observer.
"I called (again) three weeks ago," said Joe Munno, president and founder of UPrep. "They said, 'Well, it takes time.' She still hasn't made a decision. I reiterated my case. That was it."
Said Kathy Hoyt, executive director of Section 5: "Really, until Joe hears her stance on this, we're in a holding pattern," Hoyt said. "It's unfortunate for them, because we don't know how long it will go on."
Elia and her staff are likely consumed by the complicated case heard last month over the status of Buffalo school board member Carl Paladino. The NYSED had issued 10 rulings on appeals by this date in July 2016; there have been no new rulings posted this summer since June 21.
One item of particular note from today's story: Munno's previous stance had been that he would insist on UPrep be moved all the way down from Class AA to B if he had to take his appeal the distance and subsequently won. Now he says he would prefer to use the same option available to other public schools if UPrep wins the appeal.
"Then I will request to move up, because I want the team to face the best competition," he said. "I want it to be my decision. I'm going to be reasonable. I'm not interested in