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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017: Previewing Friday's NYSPHSAA meeting

   Leading off today: The NYSPHSAA is half way home in making good on its promise to offer new options in dealing with the classification of non-public and charter schools, which was the big-ticket item introduced when the Central Committee met last summer.

   As we were first to report in July, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association moved away from previous ideas under consideration and took a two-prong approach.

   On Friday, the organization's Executive Committee will vote on one of the initiatives. Two representatives from each of the 11 sections will be asked to approve creation of an oversight committee to review the classification placement of non-public and charter schools in time for next school year.

   The sub-committee formed in August concluded that the respective sections should continue to maintain and apply their own established criteria, but they opted to put the idea of an oversight committee into play to look over the decisions made at the local level.

   This second set of eyes would review the placement of non-public and charter schools -- partly in the context of how that placement could potentially affect state championship events -- and have the ability to request that sections take another look at certain decisions, offering its own non-binding recommendation.

   Schools affected by a change inspired by the oversight committee's recommendation would be able to avail themselves of the existing NYSPHSAA appeals process.

   NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas would serve as chairman of the oversight committee. Organization president James Osborne would appoint five representatives from the five multi-sport classifications along with a sixth member from a non-public or charter school to meet at least three times a year.

   The second possible course of action being studied in the aftermath of the July meeting is not nearly as far along and is not yet scheduled for a vote. In it, one or two new sections would be created to house non-public and charter schools, which would be removed from their existing sections.

   An initiative of that magnitude requires changes in the rules governing the NYSPHSAA and lots of brainstorming to figure out logistics if and when the whole concept is determined to be feasible. It's possible there could be something to vote on later this year, but it's also possible that a development outside the control of the NYSPHSAA -- i.e., University Prep in Rochester getting a favorable ruling on an active appeal to the State Education Department -- could blow things apart.

   Decision day for baseball: The second most significant action item on Friday's agenda is ratification of the pitch-count rule in baseball to keep the NYSPHSAA in compliance with a National Federation mandate to have a policy in place for the 2017 season.

   We covered the details in a blog earlier this week.

   Championship venues: For the most part, the Executive Committee will be rubber-stamping recommendations for upcoming tournament sites that have already been OK'd by NYSPHSAA administrators and the respective sports committees. The exception is in football.

   Late last year, the football committee voted to keep the Western semifinals at Cicero-North Syracuse High but the NYSPHSAA staff endorsed Union-Endicott's bid. It will be up to the Executive Committee to choose between C-NS's track record as host and U-E's significantly less expensive bid.

   Middletown's Faller Field is expected to be given final approval as host of the 2017-18 Eastern football semifinals.

    • Onondaga Community College's SRC Arena will get the nod for the first three years of the new state dual-meet wrestling tournament beginning next January.

    • Tri-City Fitness in Latham, which last hosted the event in 2015, is expected to be approved for the NYSPHSAA girls championships for 2017-19, and Cortland is the only bidder for girls soccer for the same three-year period.

    • Williamsville North will be OK'd for the 2018-20 field hockey tournaments, winning out over bids from Sections 4 and 5.

    • The Executive Committee is also being asked to tack a year onto Binghamton's baseball hosting deal, which is scheduled to end in June. The tournament is switching to a two-day format this year, a change that will affect how future hopeful venues handle hotel and restaurant considerations in their bids.

   BEDS numbers: Sectional executive directors have had the data from October's BEDS reports in their hands awhile to verify the accuracy. The Executive Committee will vote to approve the school-by-school numbers, which will lead to some schools moving up or down a class in some sports.

   Although the disparity in the number of Class AA and D schools continues to grow and the NYSPHSAA drifts further away from the optimal 20 percent of schools landing in each class, there's no sense of urgency to make changes. However, there is at least one idea in circulation for smoothing the numbers out again for the 2018-19 school year.

   That would potentially affect soccer, basketball, baseball and softball.

   More action items: It feels as though I've written this at least half a dozen times this decade, but indoor track is seeking to allow sections to qualify a second entry in the relay races.

   More informational items: Time Warner Cable Sports Channel. now part of Charter Communications, is planning additional programming that fans have been seeking for quite some time: They intend to stream NYSPHSAA boys and girls basketball semifinals played the day before the championship games, which are shown on cable.

   Also, the committee studying combined sports teams determined in October that it was necessary to continue investigating the current graduated scale that allows schools and districts to combine teams without having to count the full enrollment for classification purposes.

   The committee meets again by teleconference March 14 to discuss information gathered from sectional executive directors in a survey distributed last month. No changes are expected for the 2017-18 school year.

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