Leading off today:
What looked like a victory for Glens Falls less than two weeks ago in its effort to keep the New York State Public High School Athletic Association's boys basketball tournament has turned into controversy leading to a renewed -- albeit unlikely -- possibility that the event could move to Binghamton in 2017.
The turmoil may lead the organization's governing body to discard the recommendation to stay in Glens Falls, abruptly change bidding procedures and re-start the process for awarding the 2017-19 tournaments, the New York State Sportswriters Association has learned via several interviews this week.
"It's a challenging situation but we have time to improve it and correct it," Robert Zayas, executive director of the NYSPHSAA, said by telephone Thursday. "Let's make a decision that's in the best interest of everyone."
Zayas, and Steve Broadwell, president of the NYSPHSAA, emailed members of the Executive Committee on Tuesday to notify them of "unexpected procedural technicalities, which should be addressed to ensure a fair and equitable process" after complaints emerged that financial specifics cited by representatives of the Glens Falls Civic Center in a presentation to the boys basketball committee differed from what they had submitted before the Aug. 28 bid deadline.
Multiple sources said that the GFCC presentation to the basketball committee Sept. 25 shaved approximately $15,000 off its arena rental figure, a change that brought it down to the same territory -- approximately $20,000 -- as the Times Union Center in Albany and the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton in their bids to host for three years beginning in 2017. That led to concerns about how the committee should proceed, but Zayas said he pointed out such a revision was not prohibited under procedures put in place in November 2014 and might be expected because of a four-week gap between the deadline to bid and the committee meeting.
Later that day, the basketball committee cast eight votes for Glens Falls, three for Binghamton and none for Albany. Zayas' staff also supported the Glens Falls bid. However, at least two members of the basketball committee reported to administrators in their respective sections that they had misgivings about what had transpired.
If all had gone according to plan, the next steps should have been ratification by the NYSPHSAA Championship Advisory Committee on Sept. 30 and the Executive Committee on Oct. 22. But the process was jolted three days after the basketball committee meeting when concerns about the Sept. 25 vote were raised at a regularly scheduled conference call with the executive directors of the state's 11 sections.
That led to Zayas and Broadwell writing to the Executive Committee on Tuesday to concede the process "does not address modification of bids prior to the final recommendation of the Committee and staff. Recently, one of the bidders was able to further reduce the rental fee due to additional monies secured after submission of the bid but before the presentation to the Sports Committee and NYSPHSAA Staff."
Zayas and Broadwell offered a plan to the Executive Committee, beginning with a recommendation that the 22 voting members (two from each section) take no action on the basketball site selection at its Oct. 22 meeting.
Instead, they suggested that the group amend the process to require sealed bids that are not opened until the NYSPHSAA staff and the relevant sport committee convene their meeting, and eliminate in-person presentations by bidders. Bidders would make a representative available via teleconference in the event that the sport committee has questions.
At present, Zayas and several staff members examine bid material in advance to prepare packets for the sport committee members at the meeting.
The final recommendation is to re-bid the boys basketball site selection under the revised procedures. Presumably, the do-over would conclude with a vote by the Executive Committee during its scheduled Jan. 29 conference call.
The Executive Committee, which manages the NYSPHSAA between meetings of the Central Committee, may adopt the policy revision plan or opt to sign off on the recommendation to keep the event in Glens Falls, which has hosted since 1981. It could also call an audible and overrule everyone by awarding the contract to Binghamton.
Analysis: What happens next, assuming that the Executive Committee concurs that the basketball selection process needs a do-over?
When all is said and done, it's likely Glens Falls retains the tournament through 2019 anyway. There's more than three decades of history on their side, the girls tournament is staying put at nearby Hudson Valley Community College and the Civic Center's final proposal was in fact