Leading off today:
Officials who run high school indoor track and field meets are skipping this weekend's meets to protest a change in the payment system, Syracuse.com reported.
Jim Magnarelli, a negotiator for sectional referees and officials organizations, said track officials never agreed to have their pay processing switched to ArbiterPay, a computerized payment program. Hand-in-hand with that change was a conversion to direct deposit payments. Being paid by check remains an option for officials, but there is a new $8.50 surcharge for each payment, according to Magnarelli.
"This was never negotiated," Magnarelli said.
Officials in all sports agreed to a new, four-year contract with Section 3 last fall after two years of negotiations.
This weekend's schedule showed meets Friday at Utica College and Saturday at the SRC Arena. According to Magnarelli, around 30 officials were needed. Unfilled assignments were expected to be picked up by coaches and volunteers.
Officials stayed home from meets Dec. 21-22. There were no meets last weekend.
This may be a problem: We may be looking at a sequel to a story that I broke 28 months ago -- and the circumstances are eerily similar.
Back in September 2016, I read a story in The Daily Messenger about a family's intention to honor the memory of their son by donating money to charity for every touchdown scored by the Victor varsity football team. I couldn't recall exactly where I originally read that there was a rule prohibiting such promotions, but it did in fact exist in the NYSPHSAA Handbook and resulted in Victor administrators having to terminate the promotion.
And now there may be a similar problem for a Section 6 school. The Post-Journal in Jamestown reported this week that Southwestern High's boys basketball team is participating in a "Hoops for Hearts" campaign inspired by a local first-grader diagnosed with a congenital heart condition.
In an effort to help raise awareness, the basketball team has been collecting pledges for every free throw made during home games, with the proceeds to be donated toward pediatric cardiac research at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Golisano Children's Hospital.
As of this morning, each made free throw had a total pledge of $6.74 associated with it, putting the projected total donation for the season at around $700.
I specifically recall that the rule prohibiting such programs was mentioned at mandatory meetings for athletic directors across the state last fall, and I believe the topic was also highlighted in those meetings conducted by the NYSPHSAA the previous year.
Triple trouble: Purported misbehavior by one of the teams at a holiday tournament game in Missouri has the opponent's parents screaming, "foul."
Of course, it's fouls that triggered the controversy to begin with.
Parents at Licking High say game video appears to show opponent Dora High trading out free-throw shooters during a close game. The alleged chicanery went unnoticed by referees because the boys were two of the three triplets playing for Dora.
Video shows No. 34, Auston Luna, being fouled in the corner. But before he gets to the free-throw line, one of his triplet brothers -- either Mason Luna or Bryson Luna -- taking