Leading off today:
It's come down to crunch time regarding the topic of number-crunching by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.
The organization's Executive Committee will conduct a regularly scheduled meeting Friday in Troy, and we should know by the end of the day what direction the state's largest governing body will take on setting new classification cutoffs for its most popular sports beginning next fall.
Representatives from the 11 sections have been reviewing two options for the "five classification cutoffs" since last summer. That's the most important set of classification cutoffs because it sets the postseason tournament classes for the state's most popular team sports in terms of the number of teams -- soccer, basketball, baseball and softball.
The seemingly obvious way to go is to divide schools into five classes with approximately the same number of schools in each. The other option that's been discussed is one in which more schools are squeezed into Class B and fewer in Class AA. It may look awkward at the macro level -- there would by 107 AA schools in AA and 185 in B, but would smooth out some of the class-by-class distributions in individual sections.
| || Current || Balanced || Unbalanced |
| || || || |
| Class AA || 910-up || 825-up || 965-up |
| Class A || 480-909 || 440-824 || 500-964 |
| Class B || 280-479 || 250-439 || 270-499 |
| Class C || 170-279 || 146-249 || 150-269 |
| Class D || 1-169 || 1-145 || 1-149 |
The cutoffs are due for a change because individual school enrollments change at differing speeds over time. Some districts show growth from year to year, but many others (especially upstate) have been shrinking in a trend that's been apparent for much of the century.
To lend some perspective, here's a random sampling of five Upstate New York schools that had BEDS figures in the vicinity of 500 for the 2007-08 school year -- and where they stand now.
|School (Sec.) || '07-08 || '11-12 || '15-16 || '17-18 |
| || || || || |
|Taconic Hills (2) ||513 ||371 ||315 ||324 |
|Dryden (4) ||491 ||437 ||352 ||335 |
|Wayland-Cohocton (5)||476 ||375 ||310 ||318 |
|Medina (6) ||472 ||443 ||380 ||378 |
|Holland Patent (3) ||466 ||405 ||363 ||334 |
A portion of the decline in enrollment figures has to do with changes in the way some students are classified for State Education Department purposes, but the general trend is apparent. If not for the changes to cutoffs, two of the five would have slipped from large Class B programs to Class C and two others would be clinging to the low end of Class B.
Here's how the cutoffs have broken down in four-year intervals since the 2003-04 school year, which marked the addition of a fifth class to the basketball championships:
| || '03-04 || '07-08 || '11-12 || '15-16 |
| || || || || |
| Class AA || 900-up || 950-up || 925-up || 910-up |
| Class A || 550-899 || 550-949 || 525-924 || 480-909 |
| Class B || 350-549 || 325-549 || 305-524 || 280-479 |
| Class C || 200-349 || 193-324 || 175-304 || 170-279 |
| Class D || 1-199 || 1-192 || 1-174 || 1-169 |
A separate item on the agenda, but one obviously related is a vote to approve the school enrollment numbers for 2018-19. That data came down from the State Education Department based on data collected in the fall and has been in the hands of sectional executive directors to look for inaccuracies.
If approved by the Executive Committee on Friday, the numbers should be made available to the public a little later this month. Combined with the decision on which way to go on the five-class cutoffs, that will set off a race by league chairmen and ADs in most sections to nail down fall schedules before classes let out in June.
If all goes according to plan, this will be the last time that the process works that way. The Executive Committee has already approved a plan that will rely upon year-old enrollment data beginning with the 2019-20 school year.
That will allow the schools plenty of time to work from finalized State Education Department data released in June of the previous year rather than the January numbers that may contain as-yet uncorrected errors. It will invariably result in a few schools playing in the "wrong" class in some sports each year but will have no substantial impact overall.
State tournament hosts: We're coming down the home stretch for finalizing future championship venues in six sports. The Executive Committee will be asked to approve the following sites for contracts beginning in 2019, and all are expected to sail through the final step of the process:
• The Times Union Center in Albany to remain as host of the wrestling individual championships through 2021.
• Rochester Institute of Technology as the home for competitive cheerleading through 2021.
• HarborCenter in Buffalo to remain as host for boys ice hockey through 2021.
• Deerfield Country Club in Brockport (west of Rochester) for girls golf through 2021.
• Strike 'N' Spare Lanes in Syracuse for bowling in 2019 and '20.
• Skiing is a bit of a different animal, with three different combinations of alpine/nordic set-ups splitting the duties after each had sought exclusive ownership of the event: Gore Mountain (alpine) and North Creek (nordic) in 2019, Bristol Mountain and Harriet Hollister Park in 2020, and Whiteface Mountain and Mt. Van Hoevenburg in 2021.
Cheerleading went from no takers the first time bids for 2019-21 were solicited to a pair of submissions from RIT and the Onondaga War Memorial in Syracuse in the re-bid.