It starts with a bang, sort of.

The Board had two basketball bracket proposals to consider, one a “traditional” bracket that essentially spread the district placers throughout the bracket and a “regional” proposal that groups qualifiers much more by geography.  The latter was developed by staff in response to complaints about first-round travel, which sometimes was substantial.

The problem with the regional proposal is that several large districts, especially District 7, would replay its tournament in a quarterfinal bracket; the traditional format paired District 7 teams against qualifiers from other districts.

After a significant discussion, the Board voted 20-8 to retain traditional bracketing for the upcoming two-year cycle.  That approved bracketing can be found here on pages 3 and 4 for girls and pages 7 and 8 for boys.  One change in girls Class A: the 5-1 vs. 6-4 first round game will be 5-2 vs. 6-3 while the 5-2 vs. 7-3 first round game will now be 5-1 vs. 7-3.

Also, all play-in games for basketball have been eliminated starting with the 2012-2013 season.

Also, the Board voted 25-3 to expand the team wrestling brackets to have 20 qualifiers in each class.  The original brackets for team wrestling qualified 16 teams in each class, a reduction from the last two years.  The wrestling steering committee felt the 16-team bracket that left out the District 11-AAA runner-up weakened the tournament.  Based on that argument, the steering committee felt the AA tournament should also be expanded to 20 teams.

Thus, District 11’s AAA runner-up will be included along with multiple qualifiers from Districts 1, 3 and 7 while Class AA will have additional qualifiers from Districts 4, 7, 9 and 10.

The approved team wrestling brackets for the next cycle can be found here on page 4.

In regional wrestling, the proposal to reduce the Southwest Region bracket from 14 to 12 was defeated handily.  The Southwest Region will remain at 14 qualifiers

All 2012-2013 amd 2013-2014 pairings, brackets and qualifiers can be accessed here.  All changes will be made and updated early next week.

The new assistant executive director is Pat Gebhart, a York County resident and PIAA basketball official.  More details on Gebhart will be posted as PIAA makes them available.

Pat will start his position on Aug. 13.

Currently, PIAA is hearing a complaint between McDowell High School and District 10 over a letter McDowell sent to students of Northwest Academy in Erie who reside in the Millcreek Twp. School District (McDowell’s district) that said those students would be ineligible to participate in McDowell athletics.  That is a violation of PIAA policy – students who attend schools that do not provide varsity sports are eligible to participate in athletics in their home public school district.

McDowell was censured by District 10 after a District 10 meeting on May 2, all while McDowell has been battling District 10 over its decision to force McDowell to participate in the District 10 football and lacrosse playoffs.  The last few years, McDowell, which has always had difficulty getting a football schedule, had gained entry to a District 7 schedule with the provision that McDowell qualify and participate in the District 7 playoffs.  That was approved by PIAA, but District 10 recently reversed that with a new policy.

McDowell has appealed that policy, but its hearing before PIAA has been postponed several times.  I am attending the hearing with the hope that the football matter is addressed.

The football matter will not be addressed today; it will be heard at the PIAA’s BOD meeting on Oct. 4-5.

 

And you thought I died.

At the the PIAA Board of Directors meeting, the first with Dr. Robert Lombardi as the new executive director and Jim Zack, superintendent of Shamokin as president.

The news tonight?  Looks like we’ll find out who the new assistant executive director will be (the recommendation will be made tonight, according to agenda) and the 2012-2013 pairings and brackets will be approved.  The big deal there:  There are two basketball proposals, a “traditional” set of brackets and another set that groups district placewinners regionally.

We’ll update frequently.

OK, it is a little odd without Brad Cashman at the center of the head table and numerous long-standing members absent like Rod Stone (District 1), Ray Wotkowski (District 6), Jack Wabby (District 11).  Not a bad thing, just odd.

Director of Business Affairs Greg Biller gives the bad news: PIAA was approximately $36,000 below budget for spring sports.  For the 2011-2012 school year, it looks like the PIAA will lose money, down about 1.5% from last year’s bottom line.  Biller did not provide a dollar figure.

Biller did say that one of PIAA’s increased costs is holding events at college facilities.  Biller gave some examples, and noted that costs were nearly double at college sites than similar events held at high school sites.

Fast-moving meeting has suddenly slammed into a wall.  District 7 is raising all kinds of concerns – 11 of them – about the pending Competitive Spirit Championships.  The D-7 reps read each concern verbatim.  Serious buzzkill (such as there’s a buzz at a BOD meeting).  But the concerns are legit.

Biggest concern from D-7 is that it hasn’t received enough information from PIAA to properly conduct a district championship.  It has also raised concerns about the number and quality of available officials (which will not be registered with PIAA), the way entrants are classified and whether males will be permitted (at current, no).

Lots and lots of discussion.  Lengthy but necessary: the PIAA championship is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 2, at Hersheypark Arena, and districts have to complete their championships at least a week before the state championship.  Most districts will be conducting their first spirit championships this year.

Hersheypark Stadium is retained as the site for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 PIAA Lacrosse Championships.  Lacrosse was bid out with the idea that a District 1 / District 12 site would have a big advantage (D1 and D12 teams have reached every state final since adoption in 2009), but the beautiful PP&L Park in Chester came in at $20,000, oddly enough a round $20,000 higher than Hersheypark, which offered the Stadium free for the next two years.

Dr. Lombardi does not reveal the name of the recommended new assistant executive director.  Reason: The Human Resources Committee has not made its recommendation yet; the only recommendation has come from staff.  So it won’t be a done deal until Friday morning.

Should be getting to the brackets and pairings soon.

Well, shut my keyboard.  Pairings and brackets have been pushed to Friday, and the meeting has been adjourned.

Back tomorrow morning around 8.

 

I’ve been meaning to post for weeks and always found something else to do with my District 3 work.  Today, I have no choice.

My good friend, Jim Butler of Clearfield, passed away earlier today, July 6, in Clearfield following complications from surgery.  Jim was in his mid-60s.

This is a crushing loss to Pennsylvania scholastic wrestling:  Jim had carved out his niche as one of the leading experts on statewide wrestling in the mid-1970s and carried through to the present.  His columns on wrestling the Clearfield Progress were among the most insightful in the commonwealth.

In addition, Jim was a huge dirt track racing fan and even developed some small businesses that revolved around racing.

But mostly, he was a friend who, along with former Clearfield Progress sports editor Fred Kavelak and for Progress sports writer Frank Roessner, had an enormous impact on my early career.  His unexpected passing is hurtful.

I apologize for some of the sketchy details; I’ll update when I receive more information.

But the Pennsylvania wrestling community has lost a true friend.  And so have I.

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