NOTE: This blog was updated at 10:45 a.m. Monday to note Idaho has a comparable weight class in wrestling.
Leading off today: New York is the only state with a 99-pound weight class in high school wrestling, though Idaho has a 98-pound division. We'll have a better idea soon if and when that distinction will be coming to an end.
The NYSPHSAA Central Committee holds its annual meeting this week, with the wrestling issue one of the more interesting discussion topics on the agenda because it pits a philosophy that participation should be a goal of high school athletics against practical considerations.
No vote will take place Tuesday or Wednesday at Turning Stone Resort in Verona, but discussions this week could tell us whether the Executive Committee is likely in October or February to follow the recommendation of sectional wrestling coordinators to eliminate the 99-pound class in dual meets beginning in the 2020-21 season as a two-year experiment. With one significant objective being to reduce the number of forfeits in duals, the 99-pound class would remain intact for individual bracketed tournaments, including the sectional and state tournaments.
The Press & Sun-Bulletin took a lengthy look as the debate this month, noting compelling cases for keeping or abolishing the division in New York State Public High School Athletic Association competition.
"There's an argument that all the 99-pounders are classified kids (seventh- or eighth-graders), but there are also many freshman and sophomore who are legitimate 99-pounders. Arguments go both ways," said Section 4 wrestling coordinator Rick Armstrong said.
One of the arguments in favor of keeping 99-pound competition is that it is an avenue for recruiting and retaining younger competitors in a sport that has certainly had its challenges when it comes to participation. Being able to land a spot on the varsity as a 13- or 14-year-old holds an obvious appeal, but others contend that the modified and JV ranks are the more appropriate venue for junior-high competitors -- particularly in a physically demanding sport.
Double jeopardy: There is one vote in particular that I'll be most interested in watching this week. When it came up in 2017, the Central Committee voted decisively to continue barring athletes from participating in practice while serving their one-year ban on game participation following a transfer not permitted by the rules.
I've considered that overly harsh from Day 1. The year of lost game eligibility in cases in which the student doesn't have an approved reason for transferring is pretty severe but not outlandish. But banning them from even practicing alongside the friends and future teammates is unduly punitive.
This week's proposal would allow athletes at the modified and JV levels to both practice and play. Varsity athletes would still have to sit out a year of games but could practice at their new schools.
Meeting via teleconference last month, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee voiced support for changing the rule so that athletes can practice while serving the ineligibility period.
The SAAC consists of two students from each of the 11 NYSPHSAA sections. Here's hoping that the Central Committee, consisting of four adults from each section, sees the wisdom of passing a rule that if nothing else would likely significantly decrease the number of appeals they must process each year.
Speaking of sitting, the Central Committee will also vote on a rule change dealing with ejections in football.
Under current rules, an ejection requires a player to sit for the remainder of the contest and all of the next game. The proposal heading for a vote shortens the ban to the remain-