Well, looks like the PIAA Board visited its own grotto and found a little Jesus last night: It reversed its decision on the Team Wrestling Championships.

After voting 21-9 on Wednesday night to squelch a minor adjustment to the brackets, the PIAA Board on Thursday morning voted 20-10 to accept the changes that were unanimously approved by the PIAA wrestling steering committee back in April.

It answer the question asked 30 years ago by Al Michaels: Do you believe in miracles?

Why, yes. Yes I do.

As a result of the reconsideration, the PIAA Team Wrestling Championships will have a 17-team Class AA tournament and a 20-team Class AAA tournament. Class AA will have one first round match and Class AAA will have four first-round matches on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 and Monday, Feb. 6, 2012 to “wrestle in” to the 16-team bracket.

The 16-team bracket will begin on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 and Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 at Giant Center in Hershey. The tournament, with full wrestlebacks, will be conducted over three days. The PIAA will examine the tournament over the next two years to see if it works in an acceptable manner. In addition, the PIAA will undertake a study to see if its policy of proportional representation (designating the number of qualifiers into the state championships based on a district’s size) can mesh with a sport’s needs that is not met by proportional representation.

Fair enough. If for some reason this format does not work, change it. No problem. But the PIAA all but aborted that opportunity with its sloppy, politically motivated vote the night before. It’s good to know that board members are open-minded enough to listen to different points of view, enough to change their minds.

But the bigger point is they shouldn’t have to go through a reconsideration process. The issue was simple enough: Team wrestling needs this adjustment, and where it conflicts with policy, there are plenty of examples where PIAA has ignored policy for the improvement of the championship. That was lost on 21 members Wednesday night, and that’s what was disturbing.

My original report on Wednesday’s PIAA meeting is here.

  4 Responses to “Daily Rant, May 27: The PIAA Board reconsiders Team Wrestling”

  1. Hopefully some others were able to read part 1 of your rant before the PIAA reversed itself.

    Can you repost the new brackets?

    Very odd for the new unanimous vote, I wonder who said what behind the scenes to change so many votes.

    Does the PIAA officially consider past performance when determining tournament qualifying, or is it just an unwritten item?

  2. Rod,

    Well, now that they have re-vamped Team Wrestling maybe they will take a look at Basketball. I emailed Mark Byers in April of ’09 with some suggestions for putting more life into the attendance numbers at BJC(received no response). Attendance seemed to be way off last year also.

    Before I go any further, I guess I should let you know that I am the Head Girls Basketball Coach and Athletic Director at Southern Huntingdon County High School in District 6. We have made numerous deep runs in the state playoffs over my 18 year tenure(eliminated in the traditional “western final” in ’94, ’00, ’09 and “western semis” in ’93 and ’97; also qualified in’95, ’98, ’99, ’08 and ’10). Our last two losses in ’08 were to Northern Cambria in the D6 semis(qualified as the 3rd place team) and to York Catholic in the 1st round of state playoffs at Hersheypark Arena. These two teams then met for the State Championship. This is just to let you know that I have been around for awhile, and have given some thought to the matter.

    I stated to Mr. Byers that every time we have been defeated in the “western final” that it was as though we fallen off the face of the earth. You have to get rosters, pictures, etc., to the PIAA office before that game and then, if you don’t happen to win, that’s it. I suggested that they try to go to a format like they used to have back through the mid-70’s, when they brought the semi-finalists to the Farm Show Arena and had the Eastern and Western Finals and State Championship over a 2-3 day period. If they can do it for Wrestling now, why not Basketball? There are still usually some public schools left in the semis, and maybe that would help eliminate some of the “private vs. public” debate. I also stated that maybe taxpayers of public schools are tired of going to see nothing but “private” schools playing for the championships. Why not bring in the semi-finalists and have a “Final Four” weekend. If they feel as though that would be too many teams, why not try splitting the Boys and Girls to separate weekends for the semis and finals(I believe West Virginia does this).

    I had a few other suggestions that I made, but I thought that these seemed to be the most appropriate for the PIAA problem with losing money on Basketball. I don’t think lowering the ticket prices at BJC will help, because if people aren’t attending they will make even less money. Lowering prices a dollar or two won’t ramp up attendance figures, in my opinion. As I stated before I just don’t think that people are real excited about seeing nothing but “private” schools playing for Championships, along with teams from the same District playing a re-match for the title. I know that adding days also adds expenses, but maybe be trying something new, attendance would increase, and thus revenue would also. Might be worth a try.

  3. The PIAA’s policy reversal stole some of the thunder from my rant. I suggest wrestle-ins to get to two 16 team brackets. and I might justify even more than the 5 meets now planned (If I recall an earlier post I came up with 20-22 teams for AA and 22-24 AAA), But those numbers obviously are subject to change every two years, as Classifications change.

    My real point is that a 2-Day 16 team (in each class) tournament is possible, – probably cheaper and probably would be better attended.

    On Friday preliminary matches from 8 to 3:30 then quarter finals 3:30 to 10:30. Of course, this means having matches begin as Mats become Available, instead of a strict 2 hours per subsession. 2 AA duals then 2 AAA duals per mat. the second part of the day AA Consi -then AA quarters then AAA quarters then AAA consi’s. This would mean a Friday evening 5:00-9:00 of just Championship bracket bouts, improving attendance.

    Saturday 2nd consi round AA then AAA – then (about 11:30) AA semifinals and AAA consi quarters – then same with AAA. Then all consi semis. Finally(5:30pm) all AA finals 1-3-5 (7 optional) followed (7:30pm) by the same in AAA. No longer would the 2 championship meets be simultaneous.

    Of Course, this means No Hershey Bears Saturday Night

    The only “advantage I can see with a 3 day tournament is that PIAA might be able to split friday into 2 sessions, and charge for 4 sessions. But I would bet far more actual people would attend a two day rather than a three day event.

  4. Phil, first of all, I really appreciate your comment. Second, I like your points; they reveal some of the things that schools who advance in the playoffs have to deal with.

    I disagree that lowering prices won’t increase sales. I think it will. I just don’t know how much. As long as live TV and Catholic schools exist, they will tamp down attendance.

    I thoroughly agree with the idea of bring in the semifinalists. It’s one of several good ideas floating around about ways to help basketball attendance.

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