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Monday, Sept. 2, 2013: NXN striving for 'cleaner' look for race layout

   Leading off today: The Nike Cross Nationals will be cleaning up its act next December.

   Jason Byrne of the track/cross country website reported over the weekend that Nike issued a statement saying in part, "We don't want to put our competitors out into a giant puddle this year, so we are taking every precaution possible to create the best race experience."

   The whole Portland Meadows layout in Oregon is intentionally set up in a way making it susceptible to weather-related carnage -- lots of dirt, not enough firm ground. Last year was another one of those race days where just finishing the race without having one of your shoes sucked off in a mud pit was a victory of sorts; it makes for better viewing than it does racing.

   According to a report, Nike will work on better drainage, make course changes to avoid problem areas and add staff to be more reactive to problems as they develop. Best of all, the featured races on Dec. 7 will be moved to earlier in the day -- before the circuit really gets mucked up.

   Both the New York and Northeast regional qualifiers will be held at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls on Nov. 30.

   Sharing the wealth: The Times Union in Albany followed up this weekend on the NYSPHSAA's announcement in July that $45,000 was being steered to the association's 11 member sections as part of the new revenue-sharing model.

   The New York State Public High School Athletic Association policy previously introduced by first-year Executive Director Robert Zayas funneled $55.46 per member school back to each of the sections.

   "It's only $45,000 this year," Zayas told the paper. "But my goal is that it grows much bigger than that."

   More interesting to those who haven't heard it discussed before, the NYSPHSAA continues to explore the idea of selling naming rights to championship events (i.e., "The New York State High School Football Championships presented by Home Depot") while being mindful of potential negative response from membership and/or the public.

   Same sport, new duty: Coaching was his calling in the world of basketball, but Mike Eisenberg, 55, hasnít been on a bench as a head coach since being fired at Francis Lewis in 2008 after 15 seasons and six appearances in the PSAL girls final.

   Now he's back in the sport -- but as a referee. He'll begin his first season of junior varsity girls games late in the fall and is working toward certification as a boys official as well.

   ďIt may be unrealistic, Iím not saying it is, but my goal is to be the first person to coach and referee at the Garden .... Maybe it could work out,Ē he told the Community Newspaper Group.

   This isnít the first time Eisenberg has toted a whistle during games. He first took the officials certification test 15 years ago and worked recreational leagues.

   ďI think I start out a little better than most people because Iíve coached,: he said. "Iíve played, Iíve refereed in outside leagues.Ē

   Ugly post-game incident: There's a real possibility that an ugly fight between coaches after an Alabama high school game Friday night will lead to criminal charges, media in that state reported.

   Walker High coach John Holladay has been placed on paid administrative leave by his he school following the incident at the end of the game against Cullman High, Jasper City Schools AD Jimmie Alexander said, adding that Jasper Police Chief Connie Rowe is investigating the football site

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fight and seeking photos and videos as potential evidence.

   Under Alabama laws, it is a felony to assault a game official, but the statute doesnít specify punishment for attacking a coach. However, the stateís assault statue could apply in light of injuries Hopper sustained.

   Holladay and Cullman defensive coordinator Matt Hopper were the primary combatants. After fists started flying, Holladay was tackled to the ground by a Walker assistant coach and Hopper was restrained by uniformed police officers on the field.

   The website reported it's unlikely Holladay will ever coach at Walker again, and perhaps not again Alabama. In addition, the Alabama High School Athletic Association can impose punishment on one or both schools.

   Cullman won 13-10 on a touchdown with 18 seconds left. Rather than conducting postgame handshakes, coaches tried to get their teams to their respective locker rooms before tempers erupted.

   The word on the tweet: Wise advice from a veteran PSAL basketball coach and perennial All-Twitter Team selection:

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