Leading off today:
Apparently, the only thing that gets suspended (and stays suspended) in the Monsignor Martin Association is its games.
Hours after The Buffalo News reported that St. Joseph's players intended to boycott Saturday's football game in a show of unity with a suspended teammate, school officials relented by promising to appeal the penalty and declaring that Freddie Nixon Jr. would be allowed to play in the interim.
Nixon was suspended by the MMA for his role -- and we use that term loosely since self-preservation and arguably even a modicum of retaliation in the midst of a pier six donnybrook probably should not be a punishable offense -- in last weekend's second-quarter brawl with Bishop Timon-St. Jude.
The fight led to the game being suspended and ultimately declared a double forfeit, with the league also handing down punishments to an unspecified number and unidentified group of players. But Freddie Nixon Sr. confirmed to the paper that his son was the only St. Joe's player to receive a suspension.
St. Joe's officials initially declined to appeal the ruling, but it appears they acquiesced after St. Joe's players handed in the uniforms Thursday in support of Nixon, who they believe was defending himself after he had his helmet ripped off during the fight, the paper reported.
So Nixon can play until the league considers the appeal on his behalf.
"We're waiting to hear back from the (MMA) Board of Principals on the status of the request being heard," Kevin Keenan said on behalf of school President Robert Scott. "The game is on."
Keenan said actions by the players and parents had nothing to do with the abrupt decision to appeal.
Meanwhile, Timon AD and football coach Charlie Comerford told the paper that his school also is in "the process of appealing" penalties, which means suspended players would be able to participate Saturday in a non-league game vs. Aquinas.
Meeting preview: The New York State Public High School Athletic Association's Executive Committee meets Wednesday in Troy with a short but significant assortment of items scheduled for votes.
Chief among them is a request by the wrestling committee to conduct dual-meet championship tournaments in two divisions. As recently as late last winter I had doubts that the sectional coordinators could pull it off, but they moved forward with a highly organized and soundly crafted proposal that did not seem to run into any serious headwinds at the Central Committee meeting in July.
Significantly, the Championship Philosophy Committee (CPC) and the Championship Advisory Committee (CAC) recently were largely OK with the plan for two 12-team events brought forth by state wrestling coordinator Marty Sherman, though the process for determining at-large berths had not yet been spelled out.
If approved, the dual-meet tournament would cut into the Union-Endicott Duals' status as somewhat of a de facto championship events. But it would indisputably pump new life into a struggling sport and almost certainly turn a profit at the gate and perhaps make for an attractive TV/cable broadcast.
If approved, the championships would be slotted into mid- to late-January calendar beginning in 2018.
The wrestling proposal has been kicked around for years and got back-burnered when the NYSPHSAA declared a freeze on tournament expansions in 2009 out of economic concerns. Also cast aside at that time was a proposal to allow the respective sections to qualify a second relay at all three distances for the indoor track championships.
With the spacious, state-of-the-art Ocean Breeze Complex on Staten Island set to begin hosting the state meet early next year, the time might be right to add depth to the relays competition. If the proposal passes, the change will go into effect in 2018.
Bowling and girls golf are also looking to grow.
The bowling committee has seemingly made a slam-dunk case for expanding to two divisions based on simple math -- the number of schools fielding teams and statistics showing that larger schools consistently crowd smaller counterparts out of the annual NYSPHSAA tournament.