Skip a meeting, miss a lot. (Today’s live blog starts below)

Have a look at Stephanie Loh’s report on pennlive.com regarding Thursday’s session of the PIAA Board of Directors, and you’ll see the Board engaged in a rather surprising and interesting discussion.

A proposal to consolidate PIAA districts – combining smaller districts to reduce the number of districts in an attempt to level the number of students per district – failed to pass the Board by an 11-18 vote, but it was a rather surprising shot across the bow.

Or is it? The measure appeared to have the support of outgoing executive director Brad Cashman and outgoing Board president Rod Stone of District 1, which is a big, flashing “Legacy” sign.

Frankly, whether it’s a matter of just decent sense or legacy-building, I could care less. As far as I’m concerned, the vast majority of the PIAA’s ongoing problems stem from the creaking old district structure, one that is entering its 100th year (the PIAA was formed in 1913).

I have been a proponent of redistricting, regionalization, etc. for many years. As Stone pointed out in Stef’s article, the state has changed since 1913 and PIAA has never addressed that change at the structural level. That’s why we end up having screwy brackets in so many sports.

Although the issue pretty much died in the crib at this point, I’m thrilled that it has seen the light of day again. This is a conversation the PIAA must have, and if it’s Brad’s final bit of legacy-building, I’m all for it.

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FRIDAY BOD BLOG

In the middle of some hearings right now. We’ll get back on agenda as soon as hearings are over.

A hearing on a suspended field hockey official from District 2 just ended, but it is being followed by a presentation from Fox Chapel requesting a rule that boys be banned from playing field hockey. That is going on now.

Ugh. Hearings lasting forever.

Actually, the final presentation was reasonably interesting. A lawyered-up Fox Chapel requested the PIAA adopt a no-boys rule for field hockey, which touched off a significant debate. PIAA is under injunction to allow boys to play girls’ sports (and vice versa), and the PIAA simply will not adopt a new rule that will expose them to litigation.

However, PIAA did indicate that if the Attorney General’s office sees enough evidence to contest the injunction, it would be happy to lead from behind.

There’s more to it, of course, but this issue will move forward, if a bit outside the PIAA Board process.

The new football proposal from District 5 chairman Virgil Palumbo is up. He is proposing a compressed playoff schedule that provides for fisrt-round district playoff games to be played on a Tuesday, followed by a second-round game on the following Saturday. The schedule would return to the normal weekend schedule. Six states have a format similar to this in order to keep their qualifiers at the district level.

Here comes the discussion.

Wally Blucas hits it on the head. He notes that the executive staff and then the football steering committee agreed overwhelmingly to provide for a 15-week season, but it lost in the end to local politics.

“This is about what the big schools want,” Blucas said.

This is a motion to approve the format on a first-reading basis, but it dies for a lack of a second.

That was quick. And painless, rare for a PIAA BOD football issue.

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