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Friday, Oct. 24, 2014: NYSPHSAA tightens transfer rules

   Leading off today: In a meeting Thursday in Troy, the NYSPHSAA Executive Committee approved three changes to its rules that will make it more difficult for athletes to move between high schools.

   Chief among the moves was a 19-2 vote to eliminate the "academic advantage" waiver, which often allowed athletes to transfer by saying they wanted to take courses such as theology or Advanced Placement not offered by their previous school. Beginning next September, students using that reason as the basis for transfer after the start of ninth grade will fall under the rule requiring them to sit out a season in sports they played in the past year.

   "It's a membership decision, this is not geared to one type of school, it is across the board," Robert Zayas, executive director of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, told the Times Herald-Record. "But it is something that our members had a great concern about. They felt passionately that the academic advantage rule was too lenient. This is something we researched and discussed for nine months."

   Zayas told the paper 213 students across the state used the academic advantage waiver in the 2012-13 school year. Eighty-seven moved from public to private schools, 76 from public to public, 36 from private to public and 14 from private to private.

   In two other 19-2 votes, the Executive Committee added language regarding corresponding change of residency related to athlete eligibility for transfer students and tightened the exemption process for athletes whose parents divorce or separate.

   In the most notable other development, the committee voted against extending the Glens Falls Civic Center's contract to host the boys and girls volleyball tournament beyond this year but tabled the matter of selecting a new host or reconsidering the Glens Falls proposal until January. The volleyball committee, which supported Glens Falls by an 8-7 margin, will meet in the interim to discuss options.

   The tournament has been held in Glens Falls since 2006, but its bid to host from 2015-18 was considerably more expensive that three-year proposals put forth by Onondaga Community College and Corning High School.

   "It resulted in some discussion and it asked for some more information and some more rationale as to why the committee thought it best to go to Glens Falls," Zayas told The Post-Star.

   Zayas also said a January vote gives officials time to discuss options with the Coalition to Save Our Civic Center, whose bid to buy the Glens Falls Civic Center was accepted Tuesday by the Glens Falls Common Council.

   Soccer achievement: When Vestal defeated Maine-Endwell 1-0 on March 15, it marked the 200th shutout by girls soccer teams coached by Bill Stepanovsky. Stepanovsky coached Union-Endicott from 1999-2009, during which time he compiled a 177-18-19 record and led the Tigers to nine Section 4 titles, before taking over at Vestal in 2011.

   Stepanovsky recorded No. 201 on Monday when Vestal blanked Oneonta 3-0 to win the Southern Tier Athletic Conference tournament.

   Leave of absence: Highly successful South Jefferson girls basketball coach Pat Bassett is taking a one-year leave of absence.

   "This just seemed like a good idea for us and our program at this point for a number of reasons," Bassett told football site

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The Daily Times. "One, I've always wanted to do this, to travel around and go see other coaches. ... And, it's no secret there has been some friction in our program, going back to last year, at least to last year. I think some time and separation from that will be a good thing. I think it will give some much-needed perspective to all the parties involved, and I truly hope that we'll come back as a stronger program next year."

   Bassett, who has guided the Spartans to two NYSPHSAA titles and eight Section 3 championships in 14 years, said the final decision was made Wednesday morning when he spoke with Superintendent Mary Beth Denny. Denny was not yet on the job when Bassett was placed on one-week administrative leave early last season.

   "I'm thinking some time away will help that situation," said Bassett, who has 337 career wins and teaches high school physics. "But again, that was just one of the factors."

   New vote, same result: Whitehall parents, players and residents hoping the school board would reinstate football coach Justin Culligan walked away unhappy again Thursday following a special meeting.

   A motion to reinstate Culligan failed 6-2, prompting jeers from the more than 200 people who packed the high school auditorium. Three police officers were inside to help maintain order and escort board members to safety, The Post-Star reported.

   The board voted Monday to fire Culligan following a two-hour executive session. It followed a rough weekend game against Rensselaer that was stopped in the third quarter. State Police were called in to help the Rensselaer team and fans leave the Whitehall campus safely.

   Oh, brother: I lost the link to the story, but Jim Furlong at the Long Island Advance did a nice story recently on the Cipp brothers, who are having great football success this fall.

   Joe Cipp Sr., himself a Bellport legend as a football coach, has watched Joe and Jeff Cipp guide their teams to a combined 12-0 mark thus far.

   Joe Cipp's Bellport squad is 6-0 and ranked 27th in Class AA by the New York State Sportswriters Association entering the weekend. First-year coach Jeff Cipp's Longwood team is 6-0 and ranked ninth.

   Weekend football: Here are the schedules for all the NYSSWA's ranked teams and the full Week 8 schedule.

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  • 5/27: Football gets approval to add a game
  • 4/29: Officials turning focus toward the fall
  • 4/23: Boys all-state basketball (large schools)
  • 4/22: Westhill hoops star dies in crash
  • 4/16: Boys all-state basketball (small schools)
  • 4/8: LuHi girls coach Slater steps down
  • 3/24: NYSPHSAA ends winter sports season
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