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Monday, July 15, 2013: Never too soon to get started?

   Leading off today: University of Miami men's basketball coach Jim Larranaga has a nice start on his recruiting class ... for 2017.

   D.J. Russell, an incoming freshman at Jacksonville Arlington Country Day in Florida, has made a verbal commitment to play for the Hurricanes after completing (and, for that matter, starting) his high school varsity career. Though the commitment is non-binding until he's able to sign a letter of intent in a little more than three years, Russell's potential is unmistakable. He already stands 6-foot-5 and 208 pounds and played for the JVs as an eighth-grader.

   I like Coach (Jim Larranaga) and I like how they run their offense and it fit me real well, Russell told a Florida paper. I can just play my game right now and dont have to worry about the recruitment.

   Ruling to come: Officials from Section 1 and Somers JFK stated their cases on Friday as the school appealed a ruling to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.

   The appeals panel consisting of executive directors Ben Nelson of Section 4, Karen Lopez of Section 7 and Wayne Bertrand of Section 2, can uphold the decision to not grant JFK Friends and Neighbors status, modify it or reject the appeal. The deadline for a decision is by the end of this week.

   Both sides scored some successes in Friday's proceeding, in which JFK disputed Section 1's finding of illegal recruiting of athletes. An observer familiar with NYSPHSAA policies and precedents speculated to the New York State Sportswriters Association that one possible outcome could be a revocation of sanctions in all sports except football. That would both leave a blemish on the school's athletic department and yet give the school the opportunity to fill out schedules in its other sports; most if not all of the school's football schedule as it joins the CHSAA could be filled out with the help of league members.

   Leaving the Section 1 ruling intact would likely send JFK down the path of a court challenge, which could be expensive for everyone and exposes the NYSPHSAA to the fear that any governing organization faces: having one of its foundation-forming rules struck down.

   You can read the Journal News' coverage of the appeals hearing here, as well as details of what led up to the sanctions in a fascinating story by reporter Nancy Haggerty.

   Also, sports reporter Josh Thompson chimed in this morning with his own analysis.

   Changing duties: Section 3 football chairman Bob Campese has switched jobs at East Syracuse-Minoa, moving from assistant principal to athletic director. He replaces AD Bill McEachron, who retired this summer.

   Greg Voloshin has taken over as the AD and assistant principal at Goshen after a stint coaching diving and girls lacrosse at Warwick, where he was a state champion diver in 1997. Voloshin replaces AD Thomas Heinzelman, who served as the interim in that post for two years.

   Suffern has completed its lineup of varsity basketball coaches: Scott Wright for the boys and Rich Burger for the girls. Wright was the girls' varsity assistant for five seasons, and Burger coached the girls' JV squad last winter.

   The Journal News also reported Clarkstown South coach fourth-year Jennifer Chiera-Frank has resigned, continuing a busy year of churn in Rockland County. Chiera-Frank is expecting the birth of her second child late this summer.

Spring tournament schedules
  • NYSPHSAA boys lacrosse
  • NYSPHSAA girls lacrosse
  • NYSPHSAA baseball
  • NYSPHSAA softball

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    In her last two seasons, Chiera-Frank guided her team to a pair of undefeated league championships.

       Jason Rich will be Spencerport's third ice hockey coach in three years, replacing Jeff Lovier.

       In other news ... This has zilch to do with sports, but it's a little too delicious not to pass along.

       Media outlets on Long Island got a look at the summer reading list put out by the Hempstead school district, and it's a gem. For instance, F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is misspelled as "The Great Gypsy," and author Emily Bronte is listed as Emily Bonte.

       The Associated Press reported that a member of the state's Board of Regents characterized the mistakes as indicative that a stable administration was essential for children to get a good education. The statement said, "Hempstead has not had a stable administration for a long time and the kids are suffering."

       Hempstead Superintendent Susan Johnson had no immediate comment.

       Rules changes roundup: With so many competitors wearing compression pants in track meets these days, the National Federation of State High School Associations has modified its uniforms rule so that only visible garments worn under the uniform bottom that extend below the knees to be unadorned and of a single, solid color. There are no longer restrictions to garments worn under the uniform bottom if they terminate above the knees.

       The NFHS track and field committee approved a dozen other relatively minor changes, including reducing the amount of time competitors in the pole vault will have to begin their most of their attempts.

       The full release regarding the track and field rules changes can be found here.

       Most notable amongst the baseball rules changes -- and this should tell you what kind of a pier 6 donnybrook their committee meeting must (not) have been -- is the decision to issue a point of emphasis regarding coaches' attire. According to the committee, coaches should still be dressed in a similar fashion to the players as a means of helping umpires recognize members of the staff.

       You can read about the baseball rules changes here.

       Relatively minor rules changes also came out of the softball committee meetings, including allowing team personnel to use electronic devices to transmit or record information if it is done from the teams bench or dugout areas. The information obtained may be used for coaching purposes during the game and cannot be presented to umpires as a de facto form of instant relay to challenge a call.

       You can read about the softball rules changes here.

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