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Wednesday, July 24, 2013: Cerone will relinquish top football job after season

   Leading off today: One of the longest tenures ever in state and local oversight for a sport will draw to a close in the 2013-14 school year as Dick Cerone serves his 33rd and final season as the NYSPHSAA football coordinator, the Democrat and Chronicle reported Tuesday.

   Cerone, 78, told the paper he will hand over the reins following the annual National Federation meeting in January. East Syracuse-Minoa AD Bob Campese may be the next NYSPHSAA football coordinator, Cerone said, though there are other plausible candidates available from a generally stable state committee.

   This fall will mark Cerone's 40th as the Section 5 football coordinator, and he's also a driving force behind the annual Eddie Meath All-Star Game. He's already retired from AD jobs at two schools (Greece Athena and Aquinas) and took over that role a year ago at another (University Prep), where he'll continue to work.

   “I can’t give it all up at once,” Cerone said. “That would be traumatic. I figure I can go another couple of years.”

   Lacrosse tryouts: Tryouts for the 2013 Empire State Cup lacrosse competition will take place over the next couple of days. The 2013 event will be held Aug. 1-4 at Onondaga Community College in Central New York.

   Details on tryouts locations, as well as the directory of coaches, can be found on

   Whoops: Well, it certainly seemed like a good idea at the time. In fact, it was and it still is the right thing to do. But the recently enacted NYSPHSAA rule changing the way BEDS data is calculated for combined sports programs contains a flaw that has been ruffling some feathers in Section 5 and has implications elsewhere.

   In January, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association adopted the new rule by a 12-10 vote by the Executive Committee. Under the change, the enrollment of the smaller school(s) in a program merger is calculated on a graduated scale that reduces the likelihood that the squad would be pushed up one or more classes for postseason play. That makes the larger schools more willing to take in athletes from other schools that might otherwise be left without a team due to low participation numbers or budget squeezes.

   When the NYSPHSAA Executive Committee met in March, a Section 5 representative sought to have the new rule amended to create committees in each section to review the calculations and class placement of combined teams in order to make sure common sense doesn't take a back seat to the desire to help schools and athletes. Curiously, the motion died for lack of a second.

   Now it's all too apparent that the rule needs to be revisited, perhaps as early as next week when the NYSPHSAA Central Committee meets in Rochester.

   Here's why: In 2012, Edison and Monroe fielded the largest team in Section 5 football with a BEDS figure of 1,709. Though the two schools are again combined for the 2013 football season, the enrollment number under the new rule is a seemingly (though not really) plausible 887, easily dropping the team to Class A.

   Some of the math is logical if you follow the new rule: As the smaller school, only 40 percent of Monroe's enrollment of 560 counts. But if you add those 224 to what many observers assumed was Edison's figure of 1,136, the count should be 1,360 -- still a Class AA school but no longer the largest.

   But here's the rub: Edison isn't a single school. Rather, it's technically six separate schools all in the same building, with the largest being the Robert Brown High School of Construction and Design with 515 students.

   (Aside: Besides its legendary ability to not graduate its students despite spending gobs of money that Bill Gates can afford to drop at the craps table but the rest of us can't, the most notable talent of the Rochester City School District is its penchant for giving schools mind-numbingly stupid names such as School Without Walls Commencement Academy, School Without Walls Foundation Academy, Wilson Commencement Academy, Wilson Foundation Academy, and Rochester Early College International High School. Naming schools after dead presidents, governors and leaders of commerce/technology apparently is soooooooo 1950s. Who knew? Oh, and putting Northeast Prep and Northwest Prep on the same campus was spectacularly goofy.)

   In the new way of doing enrollment math, Monroe's 560 figure is calculated at 100 percent, but Edison's BEDS number gets hacked down so that the two-school total (or seven schools if you look at it the same goofy way that the RCSD looks at it) comes in at 887. Had Edison been treated as a single school, its enrollment alone would have kept the combined program in Class AA.

   Franklin, which is chopped into five schools within a school and also combines with two other RCSD high schools, is an even more dramatic case in football, slipping from a mid-sized Class AA team to a mid-sized Class B -- though I gave up trying to calculate the official BEDS number after four unsuccessful efforts to match the figure provided by the RCSD.

   Now, let's step back for a moment for a reality check: Illogical as they are, the football numbers do not matter since neither Franklin nor Edison will contend in Section 5 this fall. If a betting line existed in Las Vegas for their combined win total this fall, the over/under would sit at 3.5.

   Basketball, though, is a different animal, and city ADs are facing a whole bunch of unhappy counterparts across Section 5. Wilson and Edison each drop from Class AA to A. Marshall (now named All-City in a shell game calculated to do little more than disguise abysmal graduation rates) drops from AA to B, and Charlotte and Franklin slip from A to B. Charlotte's change is rooted football site

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largely in the decision to spin off something called Leadership Academy for Young Men as a school within a school at Charlotte.

   For what it's worth, suburban schools also are affected by the combined-schools rule. East Rochester/Gananda will slide from a large Class B in football to a mid-sized C. Pittsford's football enrollment falls sharply (the combined total for Mendon and Sutherland actually climbs modestly), but not enough to drop the Panthers out of Class AA. Pittsford will stay in Division I hockey, as will Greece Athena/Greece Odyssey -- despite the fact that both now suddenly plunge into Division II enrollment territory.

   However, the Democrat and Chronicle reports that Greece Arcadia/Greece Olympia will take advantage of the quirk and drop down to Division II. At the end of the day, that's every bit as tacky as the aforementioned RCSD issues.

   Bottom line: Look for Section 5 to take the initiative at the state and local levels in the coming weeks by pushing for reclassification of some of its own members and advocating for revisions in the state rule.

   Speaking of combined teams ... On the subject of merged programs, here's what the New York State Sportswriters Association's Steve Grandin pieced together in the way of combined efforts in football while doing his usual preseason preparations:

1 (0) - None
2 (2) - Bishop Gibbons/Saratoga Catholic
        Schoburg (Schoharie/Duanesburg)
3 (5) - LaFayette/Fabius-Pompey
        Port Byron/Union Springs
        Thousand Islands/LaFargeville/
		   Alexander Bay
4 (3) - Corning East/Corning West
        Elmira Free Academy/Southside
5 (10)- C.G. Finney/Northstar Christian
        East/SOTA/Dr. Freddie Thomas
        East Rochester/Gananda
        Franklin/Jefferson/Northeast Prep
        Pittsford Sutherland/Pitt. Mendon
        South Seneca/Romulus
        Wilson/School Without Walls/
		   Early College
6 (14)– Barker/Royalton-Hartland
        Burgard/MST Seneca
        East/City Honors/Buffalo Arts
        East Aurora/Holland
        Ellicottville/West Valley
        Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake
        Silver Creek/Forestville
        South Park/OTC Middle College
7 (0) - None
8 (1) - Carle Place/Wheatley
9 (2) – Dover/Webutuck
10 (1)– St. Lawrence (partners unknown)
11 (2)– East Hampton/Bridgehampton
NYC(2)- Beach Channel/Channel View
        McKee/Staten Island Tech
   There are at least 13 PSAL programs (Canarsie, Erasmus Hall, Grand Street, John F. Kennedy, Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Columbus, Franklin K. Lane, Lafayette, Mott Haven, Tilden, Adlai Stevenson, Alfred E. Smith and Evander Childs) that represent "campus schools" similar to the scenario described above for Edison and Franklin in Section 5.

   Extra points: Most of the rosters for the BCANY Summer Hoops Fest in Johnson City have been posted. Sixteen boys and girls teams are slated to compete Aug. 2-4.

   Buffalo News scribe Keith McShea notes that the Western New York girls roster shows new schools for former Holy Angels stars Jontay Walton (Cardinal O'Hara) and Awilda Murphy (Sacred Heart). Holy Angeles closed its doors in June.

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