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Thursday, July 26, 2018: Baseball finals in 2019 pushed back a week

   Leading off today: For the second time in as many days the NYSPHSAA Central Committee approved pushing back a spring sport championship by a week to take advantage of the Regents exam schedule.

   On Day 2 of the annual meeting in Lake Placid on Wednesday, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association representatives approved pushing baseball's 2019 final fours back to June 14-15, similar to a decision made on softball a day earlier.

   The regular season in both sports will be extended by a week, likely helping teams avoid having to cram a excessive number of games into the final two weeks as a result of weather-related postponements early in the season. The option became available because Regents exams next spring are scheduled for a week later than usual.

   The one accommodation necessary to make the baseball change possible will be finding a facility in the Binghamton area to replace NYSEG Stadium, which will have a scheduling conflict the weekend of the NYSPHSAA tournament finals.

   More approvals: On a relatively quiet final day of meetings, the Central Committee signed off on three other noteworthy proposals:

    • Members approved the overhaul of the NYSPHSAA competitive cheerleading championships, including revisions to the score sheet, coaches education and judges training.

    • GameDay cheer was officially recognized effective this fall.

    • In another tweak of the graduated scale for merged teams, the Central Committee approved a change that will take effect with the 2019-20 school year. Combined teams will use the sport-specific classification numbers to determine enrollment figures rather than defaulting to the so-called "five-sport" classification numbers.

   It's not quite 24/7/365, but ... I believe it's been 25 years or so since the NYSPHSAA wiped away rules prohibiting coaches from supervising or running summer offseason practices for their athletes.

   Offseason time during the school year is limited by many factors, not the least of which being that many athletes play multiple sports for their school. But it's largely a matter of personal preference for coaches in deciding how much work gets done from the end of classes in June to the start of fall practice in August.

   The Journal News dug into the issue this week, and probably the most telling quote came from Harrison football coach Dom Zanot. "Id like some rules to follow," he told the paper.

   Coaches often find themselves torn between taking advantage of the summer to spend time with their family or using a chunk of the vacation to guide their players in conditioning and improving skills. Spend too much time with the athletes and risk being accused of not giving kids time to be kids. Spend too little time in the weight room or on the field and risk being accused of not caring about winning.

   You can read the story here.

   On the move: Rising sophomore guard Jalen Bradberry will enroll at Niagara Falls is September, making it three schools in three years.

   Bradberry played for Niagara-Wheatfield as an eighth-grader and led Niagara Catholic to a 15-9 record as a freshman. But school officials recently announced that Niagara Catholic will not re-open its doors this fall, making the fifth-team all-state player a free agent.


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   Niagara Falls is the three-time defending Section 6 Class AA champion.

   Coaching change: Assistant coach Demond Stewart will take over as the varsity basketball coach at University Prep in Rochester. James Reaves, who coached UPrep into the past two Section 5 Class AA finals, decided to step down to focus on running a gym he owns with his wife.

   "Demond has been a good friend, like a brother to me," Reaves said. "If there was anyone I wanted to take over, it would have been him. He has the desire and the passion to coach."

   Back on the job: Tom Lynch is ready to resume coaching football at North Rockland after missing the 2017 season while being treated for cancer.

   He returned for the team's camp in June and has attended weight-room sessions, summer workouts and 7-on-7 passing scrimmages.

   "I'm going to be here every day," Lynch said. "I have to go for treatments every three weeks, but I'll work around that so I can be there for practices and games. I expect to do what I used to do except I can't demonstrate and I can't get out of the way as quickly as I used to. I'll have people around me supporting me, which is great."

    • The Red Raiders will be without star Jayden Cook, who was honorable mention all-state as a junior. Cook has transferred to Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn.

   Cracking down: High schools in New Mexico could now face punishment over unruly fans. That's because the New Mexico Activities Association voted 59-12 to approve a rule saying a school is responsible for the conduct of its team, coaches, students, and fans at any interscholastic event, with the executive director empowered to hand down penalties upon a school for actions which violate sportsmanship standards.

   Executive Director Sally Marquez said working with schools and athletic directors would be the first step toward resolving issues, but the NMAA would step in if a satisfactory solution could not be found, with measures determined on a case-by-case basis.

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