Leading off today:
We're not quite through with basketball season yet, but some folks in Section 3 are already talking about football -- and with good reason.
Last week, Syracuse.com reported on concerns and frustrations expressed by Central Square AD Jim Drancsak over enrollment disparity. His school is much closer in enrollment to Class A schools such as Oswego and Fulton, but the Central Square football team was once again assigned to Class AA alongside the likes of much larger schools such as Cicero-North Syracuse, Utica Proctor and Liverpool when the BEDS numbers for the 2016-17 school year were released.
With the top six schools in Section 3 Class AA averaging 672 more students per school than the Red Hawks will have next fall and Central Square suffering heavy graduation losses from a team that went 2-7 in 2015 (only seven seniors are projected for the 2016 roster), Central Square has asked to drop down to Class A. Doing so will cost it the opportunity to qualify for sectionals or place players on an all-league team.
"No matter what way you slice it, it is a competitive disadvantage to play schools who have 700-1,000 more students than their opponent," coach Matt DiCarlo said. "Football is a collision sport and we ask schools at the largest level to have the widest gap in enrollment of schools who compete against one another.
"Essentially the gap in schools at the 'AA' level in football is wider than the gap between Central Square and most D schools."
Or, as Auburn coach Dave Moscov noted, Cicero-North Syracuse could be split into two schools and both would still be Class AA programs and larger than Central Square or Auburn.
And the problem is getting worse. Though C-NS, Proctor and Liverpool are among the many New York districts that have been shrinking over the years, none is dropping enrollment as dramatically as Central Square this decade. Meanwhile, other large schools have been growing in recent years or staying close to flat.
|Changes in enrollment since 2010 season|
|School ||2010 ||2013 ||2016 ||+/-|
| || || || || |
| || || || || |
|Cicero-N. Syracuse ||2316 ||2144 ||2111 ||-205 |
|Utica Proctor ||2070 ||2081 ||1947 ||-123 |
|Liverpool ||1812 ||1712 ||1689 ||-123 |
|Syracuse Henninger ||1325 ||1337 ||1519 ||+194 |
|Baldwinsville ||1458 ||1380 ||1413 ||-45 |
|Syracuse Corcoran ||1146 ||1086 ||1230 ||+84 |
|West Genesee ||1251 ||1242 ||1218 ||-33 |
|Rome Free Academy ||1288 ||1167 ||1099 ||-189 |
|Fayetteville-Manlius||1209 ||1174 ||1061 ||-148 |
| || || || || |
| || || || || |
|Central Square ||1203 ||1017 || 979 ||-224 |
Drancsak wants the NYSPHSAA to revisit a proposal presented last year
to create a sixth class in football. The plan would have pushed about 50 schools from the nine sections playing in the state tournament with BEDS figures of 1,100 or more into a new Class AAA.
An Auburn proposal to split Section 3's Class AA into two divisions based upon enrollment was defeated.
"People can debate it forever," Drancsak said, "but football is a little different than other sports."
• Watertown Immaculate Heart will drop down to Class D in football this fall after six seasons in Class C. Coach Paul Alteri said he and AD Mike Delaney petitioned for the move after the 2015 season and it was approved for a two-year period. The motion was originally rejected by the Section 3 Classification Committee, Syracuse.com reported, but the school was granted a request for a second vote.
After a 26-9 mark over its first four seasons in Class C, Watertown IHC was 6-10 in 2014-15 and did not qualify for sectionals.
Speaking of classifications: Section 3 may be in for some interesting discussions when its classification committee convenes next month. Five of the six boys basketball finalists in the three largest classes are private or charter schools.
Syracuse CBA has captured two consecutive Class A championships and will likely go up to Class AA, Syracuse.com.
The Section 3 Competition Committee meets April 14 to consider recommendations from each of the winter sports committees.
As an aside, Section 5 likely faces a fresh round of discussions along the same lines. Four of its nine boys basketball champions were privates schools.
A trend? A fluke? The weekend's high school championship developments reminded me of something I noted over the holidays: The potential power of sheer numbers.
It was back in December that I pointed out that Sachem had combined its East and North high school bowling teams into one squad. On Saturday, the boys team won a NYSPHSAA championship by a comfortable 245 pins over Lansingburgh, 616 over Webster Thomas and 776 over Frontier.