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Thursday, April 25, 2019: One week to go before vote on sports rulebooks

   Leading off today: I've written previews for quarterly NYSPHSAA Executive Committee meetings the past few years. After seeing the size and scope of the agenda for the meeting in Saratoga Springs, I'll happily defer to another reporter for a preview of one of the big votes scheduled for next Thursday.

   Mike Zacchio of The Journal News did a solid job of explaining how and why the New York State Public High School Athletic Association will vote to determine whether it will implement rules set out by the National Federation of State High Schools Association for all sports.

   It's the third time in a decade that the issue of whose rules to follow will come up for a vote. And although softball, gymnastics and boys and girls volleyball also have skin in the game because they do not currently use NFHS rules, girls basketball has been the focus since the latest round of debate began 18 months ago.

   Girls basketball has been playing under NCAA rules for more than three decades, and coaches and game officials are overwhelmingly in support of the status quo. But though the Executive Committee voted is support of keeping NCAA rules were overwhelming in 2011 and 2014, the mood in the room each time the subject has been discussed this past year has suggested a preference for uniformity and having all sports operate under NFHS rules.

   You can read Zacchio's story here.

   Some thoughts: I was at the October 2017 Executive Committee meeting that launched the latest incarnation of the NFHS vs. NCAA debate. It came about because the state's girls basketball committee was seeking approval to waive some recently enacted NCAA rules changes involving topics such as the use of courtside monitors for replays and the size of the coaching box -- stuff totally irrelevant to the high school sport.

   There were already multiple such waivers on the NYSPHSAA books, raising a question from someone about how many waivers it would take before the basketball committee abandoned NCAA rules altogether in favor of the NFHS rules. I don't think I was alone in feeling at that very instant that this was a can of worms that perhaps should not get opened ... but that it was going to be opened anyway.


   I went back and forth a bit early on but have been in the corner of the girls basketball committee for a year in feeling its best to stick with NCAA rules.

   Zacchio's story makes reference to the possibility that abandoning NCAA rules could mean the end of a shot clock in New York. While it's technically true, it's also unlikely since the hardware is already in place in every gym and the boys are already bucking the NFHS by using the shot clock.

   But here's something that will happen shortly afterward if the Executive Committee votes Thursday to make the girls adopt NFHS rules: The girls basketball committee will have to come back with requests for waivers. I count as many as 20 possibilities, though most are ticky-tack items. More likely, the initial waiver requests will concern the shot clock and a desire to adopt the vastly superior NCAA rule fouls and shooting the bonus.


   And as soon as soon as the motion is put on the floor, I hope someone stands up to ask how many waivers it would take before we could all just agree to go back to NCAA rules.

   More on the meeting: I'll roll out my preview of the remainder of the agenda at the beginning of next week. I just wanted to get the basketball stuff out there today since The Journal News got a jump on the subject.

   Speaking of the NFHS ... : The NFHS has announced some changes to rules for wrestling and swimming in recent days.

   In wrestling, an additional five minutes beyond the 90 seconds of normal injury time will be given to evaluate head and neck injuries when an appropriate health-care professional is available. At that point, the wrestler would have to continue or default.

   A second injury to the head and neck involving cervical column and/or central nervous system in the same match will result in an injury default.

   In an interesting change, stalling has been removed from the progressive penalty chart and will be penalized separately -- a warning for the first violation, one match point apiece on the second and third offenses, then two match points and choice of position on the next restart for the fourth offense. A fifth offense results in disqualification. In addition, stalling will automatically be called if a shoelace comes undone.

   The expectation is that removing stalling from the progressive penalty sequence will make officials less hesitant to make stalling calls.

    • A change in wording means a swimmer will no longer be disqualified if the touchpad is not activated in races using automatic-timing systems.

   A finish will be deemed legal when the competitor touches either the touchpad or the finish end coinciding with the individual stroke of the race.

   "This change allows for situations in which pools do not have touchpads that stretch the entire width of the lane, or in cases where the touchpad is not activated when the competitor finishes the race," Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Swimming and Diving Rules Committee, said in the announcement. "In those cases, the competitor legally finishes the race by contacting the finish end."

   Ouch: Waverly scored at least six runs in each of the five innings and defeated Whitney Point 44-0 in softball on Wednesday.

   Wendi Hammond went 3-for-4 to drive in nine runs, and Riley Hall was 4-for-5 with seven RBIs. Hammond and Hall scored six runs apiece and homered once.

   Extra points: Valley Central has named Andrew LaVallie as its new football coach. The history and economics teacher replaces Ron Introini, who resigned after 19 seasons at Valley Central.

   Cooperstown's Jack Lambert, selected NYSSWA player of the year in Class C last week, announced he will continue his basketball career at the University of Scranton.

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