Leading off today:
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association will hold its annual Central Committee meeting beginning Tuesday on the shore of the St. Lawrence River in Clayton.
A fair amount of the agenda is pro forma stuff such as reports from officers and formal approval of proposals that have sailed through approval at lower levels and are in no danger of being torpedoed at this juncture.
For instance, Albany's Capital Center (boys volleyball), Ithaca College (girls swimming) and Cold Spring Harbor High School (girls gymnastics) are all but certain to be OK'd for three-year contracts to host NYSPHSAA championships beginning in 2018. Their respective sport committees, the NYSPHSAA office staff and the Championship Advisory Committee have already given their approval to all three, and it might take a combined 90 seconds to attach the official stamp on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Likewise, new classification cutoffs for two sports effective in the fall of 2018 have already been scutinized this year and shouldn't meet resistance.
Football looks like this:
|Class ||Current cutoffs ||Proposed cutoffs || Percent |
|Class AA || 930-over || 1025-over || 14.90% |
|Class A || 570-929 || 585-1024 || 22.83% |
|Class B || 365-569 || 355-584 || 22.83% |
|Class C || 240-364 || 230-354 || 23.07% |
|Class D || 239-under || 229-under || 16.34% |
And girls volleyball, which will have five classes of nearly identical size, looks like this:
|Class ||Current cutoffs ||Proposed cutoffs|
|Class AA || 941-over || 950-over |
|Class A || 587-940 || 598-949 |
|Class B || 345-586 || 368-597 |
|Class C || 203-344 || 221-367 |
|Class D || 202-under || 220-under |
On the other hand, an equally straightforward chart that's been in use the past four school years stands a chance of being the single issue that slows progression through the 200-page agenda and meeting reference manual to a crawl.
The Central Committee is being asked to vote on a proposal to adjust the graduated scale used for determining a BEDS number when schools combine teams in a sport. That mechanism was voted into place in January 2013 to assist schools that were at risk of dropping certain sports in the face of declining turnout by students and a persistent decline in enrollment in many districts.
The practice of combining teams already existed, but the participating schools had to use 100 percent of their BEDS figures in determining placement in sectional and state tournaments. Schools whose programs were on relatively firm ground typically were reluctant to take in distressed partners if it meant moving up one or even two classes in the postseason.
Under the measure approved for the 2013-14 school year (more background here), only between 20 and 50 percent of the smaller school's BEDS figure needed to be counted -- and the incentive could be applied to multiple schools in the combined program.
(Note: I think the data I'm citing below is relevant, but my numbers should not be taken as gospel. The information is derived from what I compile each year for the NYSSWA Kerr Cup All-Sport Championship, which tracks the top eight teams in NYSPHSAA championship events. While certainly representative of the trend, I don't pretend to know if it tells the whole story. ... Statistics are funny that way.)
The effect of the new rule was almost immediate. There were just six combined teams placing in the top eight in 2012-13 NYSPHSAA championships and eight in 2013-14, before many districts started taking advantage on the graduated scale. In the three years since, there have been 19, 21 and 20 finishing in the top eight. Pittsford, which combines Mendon and Sutherland high schools in some sports but not all, is far and away the most frequently