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Friday, May 3, 2019: Girls basketball will keep NCAA rulebook

   Leading off today: My Latin is a bit rusty -- one year of the language in the mid-1970 leaves a lasting impression but not an indelible one -- but let me throw this question out there:

   Quo vadimus?

   The translation is "Where do we go from here?" When academic types ask the question, it's more of a philosophical issue than it is a matter for your GPS or Google Maps on your phone.

   The NYSPHSAA Executive Committee met Thursday and put to rest the question of rulebooks, which had consumed an extraordinary amount of time at the sectional and state level these past 18 months. July's scheduled Central Committee meeting ought to shed some light on what the next big issues may be for New York's largest governing body for high school sports.

   The Executive Committee voted 12-10 against the proposal to have all of its sports committees abide by the rules of the National Federation of State High Schools Association. The decision allows volleyball, softball, gymnastics and girls basketball to continue using alternative rulebooks.

   The issue began in October 2017 with questions about girls basketball even though similar proposals for uniformity were rejected overwhelmingly in 2011 and 2014. It's hard to imagine the topic coming up again in any meaningful way for at least several years.

   "We have had all the philosophical discussion on this that we could take," NYSPHSAA President Paul Harrica told the Executive Committee ahead of the vote in Saratoga Springs.

   The two delegates apiece from Sections 1, 2, 5, 6, 10 and 11 voted against moving all sports to NFHS rules, resulting in the 12-10 vote. It proved to be a reversal of the prevailing sentiment from as recently as last fall, when the tone of the room during discussions by the Executive Committee seemed to be in favor of telling the girls basketball committee to abandon its NCAA rulebook.

   Shifting seasons: At just about any other Executive Committee meeting, a decision to shift the seasonal calendar -- and doing so by another 12-10 vote -- would have been the day's top headline.

   In essence, the fall, winter and spring sports seasons will all start one week later than usual but conclude on their traditional weekends. The exception is football, which will also start a week later but will have its championship weekend a week later as well.

   The net effect is an extra week of summer time off, a later start for a inter season that was too long anyway and a later start for a spring season that typically starts late for many teams because it's implausible to be out on grass fields in the first week of March.

   The changes kick into effect with the 2020-21 school year.

   Regular-season scheduling, especially in the fall in spring could be affected by both the vote Thursday on the season lengths and an ongoing discussion topic that will head for a vote of its own in the near future.

   The statewide school superintendents association has come out in favor of restoring games cut in the immediate aftermath of the recession a decade ago. (Basketball has already restored its two games.) But Bayport-Blue Point AD Tim Mullins and I were chatting after the meeting and we both suspect that some soccer and lacrosse coaches would be content to keep the number of games as is instead of adding some three-game weeks to the calendar.


   Football split decision: Even with a lengthy agenda, the meeting wrapped up in just over three hours. One of the longer discussions concerned the football committee's request for adoption of new classification cutoffs for the 2020 season.

   The topic was tabled for the time being with the hope that the football committee might be able to return in July with more data regarding the ongoing effect of the growth of eight-man football. That variation of the sport has grown to more than three dozen teams for the upcoming season, gutting Class D and also starting to cut into Class C.

   Getting Class D back to a workable size likely would require setting the BEDS cutoff too high (view the proposal here) for the comfort of the Executive Committee, In fact, the Championship Advisory Committee declined to support the proposal at a recent meeting.

   The other order of football business involved the seven-

year rotation, which spells out host sections for NYSPHSAA quarter- finals and for the first time introduces at-large teams to the field to eliminate having some sectional champions proceed directly to the state semifinals.

   The proposal, which rotates the at-large berths amongst the sections has sailed through each step of the process since being introduced last fall, and Thursday was no exception. Over the long haul, teams from the four western sections will end up with more at-large berths than their eastern counterparts and also have the possibility of creating all-western finals in Classes AA, A and D.

   As The Journal News reports, that has rankled some people in Section 1.

   Hockey update: There is still a remote possibility that hockey can return to 17-minute periods and two-minute minors for next season. But the more likely scenario would be for it to happen in the 2020-21 season after the recalibration of pay scales for state tournament game officials in all sports.

   By that time, all hockey-playing sections should have agreements in place with their local officials for how to compensate them for the longer games, and those contracts are the foundation for the state tournament pay scale.

   A few other bits of business: CP Sportswear in Naples has won another five-year contract as the vendor for clothing, souvenirs and championship event programs. The contract brings the NYSPHSAA steady money without the aggravation of the old days of putting individual contracts for two dozen sports out to bid.

    • The proposed NYSPHSAA budget for the 2019-20 school year was approved.

    • SUNY Cortland easily won out over a rival bid from Section 5 to host the girls soccer semifinals from 2020-22. Hofstra University was approved to host the boys lacrosse finals in 2020-2022, with semifinals those years booked for the University at Albany and SUNY Cortland.

    • The Executive Committee OK'd waiving the seven-day rule for the remainder of the spring season, as was also the case a year ago. The weather hasn't been quite as awful as it was a year ago, but there are still plenty of games to be made up in baseball and softball these next three weeks.

    • Glens Falls standout Joe Girard III got two half-in-jest shoutouts from the NYSPHSAA staff. His appearance in the boys basketball final four in Binghamton goosed up attendance (and profits) and generated near-record interest in NYSPHSAA social media accounts.

    • The slight adjustments to classification cutoffs in boys and girls lacrosse for the 2020 season sailed through in separate votes, as did boys and girls tennis requests to add at-large entries in order to do away with first-round byes at the state tournaments.

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