Leading off today:
I've mentioned more than once in recent years that I think it would be good use of a reporter's time to attend the quarterly meetings of the NYSPHSAA's Executive Committee.
That's increasingly difficult these days because most (all?) of the high school sports reporters that I know have been on the "do more with less" treadmill for a good many years and simply do not have the time to drive two or three hours, let alone sit through four-plus hours of meetings.
Having said that, Friday's meeting was a newsy one even though there were not many items up for votes and most of the one that were -- site selections for upcoming football and baseball championships, for instance -- were foregone conclusions.
In no particular order, the headline-worthy news of the day included:
(1) The revelation that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office has "concerns" about the transfer rules enforced by the NYSPHSAA, apparently because an unhappy family in the Southern Tier has been bending the ear of numerous people all the way from Sidney in Delaware County to Albany.
(2) A sub-committee will study whether tournament championship dates have to remain anchored to particular spots on the calendar. The subject frequently comes up in football, in which the finals have traditionally been held on Thanksgiving weekend. By extension, the starts of sports seasons could shift as well. Pushing back the start of basketball season would be one possibility, especially if football finals end up being moved to early December.
(3) There's a new push to expand the state football tournament from five classes to six, which would potentially open the door for other sports to expand as well.
(4) Logistics are being studied so that wildcards could potentially be added to the NYSPHSAA football tournament as early as 2019 in order to assure that brackets in all classes have a full complement of teams.
(5) Michele Ziegler had been dismissed as the state coordinator for cheerleading.
The stories behind the headlines: I am not up to speed on the transfer-rule dispute that had made its way to the governor's office -- upon returning home I realized the notes in my files on a recent transfer case had nothing to do with this situation -- but the case is part of a broader story: Elected officials frequently seek to intervene on matters in which they have no expertise and a comparable grasp of the actual facts -- especially in an election year.
Kevin Banes, who is the legislative lobbyist for the NYSPHSAA, also updated the Executive Committee on two other looming issues -- a bill recently introduced by a member of the state assembly and the ongoing effort by families of home-schooled children to gain access to high school sports programs.
I blogged late last month about Linda B. Rosenthal, an assemblywoman representing a Manhattan district, and her effort to pass a law that would end riflery, archery and trap shooting programs in public schools.
I never received follow-up from Rosenthal's office when I inquired as to what was behind her bill, but Banes called it "a political proposal," noting that she has referenced the NRA and the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Rosenthal, characterized by Banes as very progressive, said she became concerned after learning that the shooter in the massacre was a member of the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program's marksmanship club.
(If I made an unsupported stretch like that, I'd be hospitalized for two weeks with a torn groin muscle.)
The home schools issue, championed by my local state senator (Joseph Robach) is both not going away and going nowhere at the same time. It regularly garners support in the senate, but not the assembly. With Cuomo pushing an aggressive to-do list while preparing for a primary that has the potential to do surprising damage to how he's perceived statewide and nationally, the prevailing opinion is the bill will once again be stuck in a drawer and not advance to a vote this spring.
•The idea of moving championships off their traditional blocks on the calendar is not new. Starting springs sports earlier may be implausible because of weather factors, but shortening the too-long winter season by lengthening the fall sports window figures to interest people.
On the other hand, don't assume pushing back football's finals by a week is an avenue to add an extra regular-season game to the schedule. Nor does it mean an extra round of playoffs in order to bring Long Island into the state tourna-