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Monday, Feb. 3, 2020: NYSPHSAA ponders adding regular-season football game

   Leading off today: The New York State Public High School Athletic Association could be heading down the path of offering its football teams the opportunity to play an additional regular-season football game.

   Gary Vanderzee, the NYSPHSAA football coordinator will formally introduce the proposal Friday during the quarterly meeting of the association's Executive Committee in Saratoga Springs. The state football committee unanimously approved the proposal in December, and a vote by the Executive Committee could take place in time to apply the change to the 2020 season.

   Most teams in NYSPHSAA sections that participate in the state tournament play seven-game regular seasons, with some playing eight because there are not enough teams to conduct sectional quarterfinals. The two Long Island sections, which do not participate in the NYSPHSAA tournament, play eight-game regular seasons.

   The additional game would come at the expense of the interscholastic scrimmage that teams play the week before the regular season. The mindset of a number of coaches I've spoken with in recent months is that they would support replacing the scrimmage with a non-league game. The proposal says the change would give "schedulers/schools more flexibility in scheduling traditional rivalries."

   The proposal also notes that the change helps address the perception by some that scheduling is postseason-driven at the expense of non-playoff teams.

   If adopted in a vote most likely held in May, the change would mean most teams reaching the NYSPHSAA championship games in Syracuse would play a total of 14 games, moving New York closer to what a number of other states allow.

   Marketing change up for vote: Perhaps the most interesting item that will be voted on Friday is a proposal to enter a 10-year marketing deal with Teall Properties Group, an arm of an outfit heavily involved in making sponsorship deals on behalf of numerous colleges and NCAA conferences.

   In return for the sponsorship rights, TPG would pay a guaranteed rights fee which will exceed the current revenue the NYSPHSAA generates from sponsorships. TPG would embed an employee in the NYSPHSAA office to handle the account.

   Signing on with TPG, which has deals with the state high school associations in Ohio, North Carolina, and South Carolina, would mean realigning duties within the NYSPHSAA office staff. Chris Joyce, director of sales and marketing, would retain some existing duties but also step into the role of director for the recently created NYSPHSAA Foundation and handle more state championship operations.


   Venue votes: The Executive Committee is likely to rubber-stamp the awarding of several contracts to host future championships.

   Bids to move girls tennis to Sportime in Schenectady for 2020-22 and keep the wrestling deal meet championships at Onondaga Community College for the next three years have sailed though the process thus far.

   Although the sport committee only supported Centereach High by a 5-3 margin (schools in Sections 4 and 5 also made bids), field hockey could be heading to Long Island for three years beginning this fall. The bid award is being made on relatively short notice because Section 6 has withdrawn from hosting next fall's final fours.

   The other vote is for a three-year outdoor track and field contract that would have Middletown bookend a 2022 appearance at Cicero-North Syracuse.

   June basketball evaluation: The Executive Committee will vote on a proposal to endorse a June NCAA scholastic event for boys basketball prospects, something the NYSPHSAA took a pass on a year ago. The NYSPHSAA would not have a direct role, instead leaving it in the hands of the Basketball Coaches Association of New York.

   The June event is the result of a recommendation by the Rice Commission in the aftermath of the recent college scandal that uncovered illicit payments to players. The jury is still out as to whether the camps have much value for four- and five-star recruits around the country, many of whom skipped the events a year ago.

    • The event being voted on would be open only to boys from NYSPHSAA schools. BCANY is working towards NCAA approval for separate showcases for CHSAA, PSAL, and NYSAIS players.

   Video review vote: The boys hockey committee has a proposal to adopt an elaborate protocol for video replay reviews for sectionals and the state tournament. Approval by the Executive Committee would align the NYSPHSAA with the National Federation replay rules.

   It applies to verifying goals, detecting uncred- ited goals, and deter- mining the correct time on the game clock. In order to reverse an on-ice ruling, the replay must include conclusive video evidence. An on-ice official makes the final decision.

   Overuse injuries: The day's other noteworthy vote will be on the subject of overuse injuries and specialization.

   If approved, this statement will be added to the NYSPHSAA Handbook:

   "NYSPHSAA believes that a variety of interscholastic sports provide different skill sets and life-long lessons to student athletes. NYSPHSAA recommends that student athletes participate in multiple sports during their Middle School and High School careers. NYSPHSAA supports the research and following recommendations from the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health."

   Discussion items: As is always the case at the quarterly meetings attended by two representatives from each of the 11 sections, there will be a number of discussion items besides the football schedule issue. The representatives will be taking the information back to their respective sections for input. Votes on these items could come as early as the May meeting of the Executive Committee.

   Maybe the thorniest of the discussion items for the sections to consider will be on the topic of all-tournament awards and other recognitions at NYSPHSAA championships.

   A primary concern that's been raised is the inconsistency of the awards, which range from trophies and plaques to certificates depending upon the sport. However, it's easy to envision this evolving into a philosophical discussion as to whether there should be individual recognition of athletes in team sports.

   Parallels may be drawn to the decision a couple of years ago to eliminate gifts given to athletes in some sports because all sports lacked the resources to offer comparable items.

    • The NYSPHSAA is studying the creation of standardized rotations for five-class sports (baseball, softball, basketball, and soccer) so that postseason pairings are handled in a consistent fashion with respect to sections assigned to each region, etc.

   Sports with two to four classes will eventually also be studied.

   Advisory items: The committee will get an update from NYSPHSAA Executive Directory Robert Zayas on the proposed extension of the five-year contract with Spalding to provide the official ball of the various state tournaments. The extension would be for three years, running through June 2024, and is expected to generate less money than the original contract.

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