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Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019: Previewing the NYSPHSAA Executive Committee meeting

   Leading off today: There's always the possibility that something will materialize out of the blue, but there's not much potential headline-making material to be found on the agenda for Thursday's New York State Public High School Athletic Association Executive Committee meeting in Saratoga Springs.

   For instance, of the several wrestling-related items on the agenda, the one generating the most discussion for much of this year isn't up for a vote. Instead, the Executive Committee is scheduled to continue discussions about removing the 99-pound weight class from dual meets.

   The latest wrinkle is that the National Federation of State High School Associations is scheduled to make its periodic revision to weight classes after the upcoming season. Whatever comes out of that meeting could cause New York's wrestling committee to reconsider abolishing the lowest weight class.

   Combined with concerns voiced by the Championship Advisory Committee over wording over the original proposal, the vote on eliminating the 99-pound class for the 2020-21 season will come no earlier than next February's Executive Committee meeting.

   However, the Executive Committee will vote on several other wrestling proposals, including a slight revision to the season-ending individual championships tournament. The change under consideration would do away with the awarding of two sets of medals -- one for NYSPHSAA competitors and one for the federation -- and conduct the event as a single tournament with awards to the top eight finishers in each weight class instead of the top six.

   Whereas only some classes in the past required expanded wrestlebacks to filter out CHSAA and PSAL placers for NYSPHSAA awards purposes, all classes would now have the additional wrestlebacks.

   If last-minute discussions get dicey Thursday, it will probably have to do with concern about consistency. Swimming and track and field are examples of other sports in which non-NYSPHSAA competitors participate; there have already been questions at the local level about whether dual medals ceremonies should be an all-or-nothing proposition.

   One other noteworthy wresting vote concerns the proposal to change the method of weight certifications by moving away from skin folds measurements and using the InBody scale method, which is gaining wide acceptance.

   The InBody body composition analyzers break down weight by fat, muscle and other indicators to provide a more accurate assessment of proper weight-class placement.

   The hangup is likely to be the price -- $1,500 per installation. Each section would need to purchase at least one to be centrally located.

   Diamond decisions: The NYSPHSAA baseball committee's proposal to permanently adopt the mercy rule that just completed a two-year experimental phase will be going to a vote Thursday.

   Under the rule, games end when the home team is leading by 10 runs after 4&189; innings or the visitor by 10 after five innings.

   Opinions on the rule still vary -- a lot of coaches dislike losing innings in which bench players could get time at the plate and in the field -- but the realities of pitch counts has swayed some people.

   In softball, there will be a vote to permanently extend the abolition of the International Tiebreaker Rule to the whole state tournament next spring. The International Tiebreaker Rule was already taken out of the semifinals and finals in recognition that pushing the pitchers circle back three feet and permitting composite bats has boosted offenses.

   That proposal is highly likely to pass, as is one to allow the use of metal cleats in softball. The National Federation and USA Softball both permit metal cleats and the NYSPHSAA has found itself on the wrong end of a complaint to the Office of Civil Rights. Anyone who's ever felt the wrath of the OCR will tell you that's not a good place to be.

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   Discussion items: The NYSPHSAA has not increased membership dues since the 2012-13 school year, but there likely will be a change coming next school year to reflect recommen- dations by auditors.

   Schools currently pay a base $810 per year plus 86 cents per student. The Executive Committee will hear a proposal to increase the base by $40 a year for five consecutive years, topping out at $1,010 in 2024-25. The effect would be to increase the organiza- tion's fund balance by $450,000 or more by the end of the fifth year.

   The Executive Committee will also be discussing formulation of a position statement on the relationship between sport specialization and overuse injuries.

   What else to expect: The NYSPHSAA sat out the inaugural year of NCAA-approved June showcase events for boys basketball prospects developed in conjunction with the National Federation. The agenda indicates that NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas intends to seek approval from the Executive Committee at the February meeting for the organization to endorse the Basketball Coaches Association of New York to manage and run the event.

   The June showcases only marginally achieved the intended goals last year. The general consensus seems to be New York and other state high school associations that did not participate are better off pushing for improvements from the inside.

   Also, look for NYSPHSAA Assistant Director Joe Altieri to be the bearer of some potential bad news. In any given year, roughly half a dozen sports hold their championships on campuses of SUNY colleges. Altieri says a SUNY contract for an upcoming championship is requiring the NYSPHSAA to acknowledge child protection policies and get background checks of volunteers.

   That will be logistically daunting and financially ruinous. If the policy is enforced by all SUNY campuses, that will almost certainly take them out of the running as future championship hosts. By extension, that could be a significant problem for the 11 member sections as they try to book venues for their postseason competitions.

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