Leading off today:
A short and at times contentious meeting Friday brought an end to Glens Falls' long run as host of the NYSPHSAA boys basketball finals.
In a 14-8 vote during its teleconference, the Executive Committee of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association awarded the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton a three-year contract beginning in 2017. Glens Falls has hosted since 1981, a run that will conclude next March.
Section 4's proposal featured free use of the arena, a pledge of $30,000 per year in community support to go toward the event, and a staff of certified trainers donated by a local health service agency.
"It was hard for Section 4 to win over an established product," Chenango Valley principal Terry Heller, a member of the Section 4 contingent that pursued the event, told the Press & Sun-Bulletin. "We knew going into it that Glens Falls is the culmination of the high school season and we have to do a great job, we know that. Pressure's on. We're looking forward to that challenge."
With a bid that was nearly $20,000 more expensive per year, Glens Falls supporters banked on tradition, a strong volunteer base and a contention that NYSPHSAA executives were given too much authority in the process at the expense of its basketball committee, which twice voted this fall to keep the event in Section 2. Section 4 supporters countered by pointing to more than two decades running the STOP-DWI Holiday Classic basketball tournament and three turns hosting the summer Empire State Games.
"They kept pounding that they have a group of volunteers second-to-none that has done and continues to work the tournament, and that nobody else is going to get that," Section 4 Executive Director Ben Nelson said. "We kept saying, we've been doing the same thing for years in essentially a bigger tournament, as far as national teams there. ... So, to suggest that we don't have the same quality of volunteers, or even just the volunteers necessary, that is just not right."
Sections 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 11 cast their two votes apiece for Binghamton. Reps from Sections 1, 8 and 11 had supported Glens Falls in the two recent votes by the boys basketball committee.
"I'm extremely disappointed," Doug Kenyon, the Glens Falls tournament director, told The Post-Star. "This seemed like a setup deal. I think we've done everything possible to put on a good tournament for the kids, generated the most revenue for the state far and away and that's the thanks you get."
Friday marked the second time this year that the Executive Committee moved a major championship from its longtime home after NYSPHSAA executives and the respective sports committees differed. In March, they voted to move the 2016 boys ice hockey championship from Utica to Buffalo. In both instances, vastly superior financial packages won out.
"If you're not going to take our recommendation, why have a sports committee," asked Bill Higgins, who chairs the boys basketball committee.
Robert Zayas, executive director of the NYSPHSAA, pointed out that more expensive bids for track and field championships won out over competitors based upon other factors such as facilities and amenities.
"I don't want this vote to be any disrespect to the sport committee," Zayas said, "and it's no disrespect to the wonderful job that Glens Falls has done."
• As expected, the Executive Committee also voted Friday to award outdoor track and field championships to Union-Endicott in 2017 and Middletown in 2019. Cicero-North Syracuse was previously awarded the meet for 2016, '18 and '20.
Coach suspended: Newburgh Free Academy has suspended fifth-year girls basketball coach Rich Desiderio, The Times Herald-Record reported. Desiderio guided Newburgh to the Section 9 Class AA championship game last season.