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.

 

I’ve had this NFHS release on the 2012-2013 wrestling rules for at least two weeks, and I’m just now posting it on my own website.

That says volumes about (a) how much work there is being a district staff person (lots) and (b) what a lazy bum I’ve been regarding RodFrisco.com.  Shame on me.

Regardless, the wrestling rules for the upcoming season can be accessed here.  I like ‘em, especially the lead rule regarding stalling, although banning the wristbands and what-not seems a little commie to me.  The thing missing from the stalling rules changes is the usual: Call it more often.

I will be posting a little more frequently now that the spring postseason is here – yes, tennis counts – and I’m well aware that the site needs some major work, especially getting the records links functional.

I’ll get it done, but God only knows when.  After all, I get to spend five of the next six days at the Hershey Racquet Club updating District 3 tennis.

It’s what I do.

 

I’ll have a blog from the PIAA wrestling steering committee this afternoon from the PIAA office.

There are a couple of big items on the agenda: (1) District 11 is once again seeking a second spot in the Class AAA Team Championships; it currently has just one spot allotted for the next cycle. If the committee suspends protocol, it will add a qualifier to the Team Championships for not just District 11, but also for Districts 1, 3 and 7, which is exactly what happened the last two years, and it expanded the AAA bracket from 16 teams to 20 teams

Last time around, it passed. But there’s some sentiment not to go in that direction for this cycle, in part because no one likes those pigtail matches being wrestled on the Monday immediately after the district team championships. PIAA has said it will consider moving the pigtails to Thursday morning at the Giant Center.

The other big issue – and it will be a food fight – will be the proposed new regional alignments in Class AAA.

The proposal is to move District 4 from the Northeast to the Northwest with Districts 6, 8, 9, 10 and to move District 12 from the Southeast to the Northeast with Districts 2 and 11. If that happens, it would leave District 1 with 62 AAA teams and District 3 with 63 AAA teams, giving the Southcentral Region the No. 4 qualifier to states for the next cycle (it had belonged to the Southeast).

That alone has caused some fireworks, but it was exacerbated by the fact that when the PIAA first drew up the proposal, Districts 1 and 3 each had 62 AAA teams. District 3′s 63rd AAA team came when Middletown, which has traditionally requested an upgrade to AAA from AA, sent in its request after the PIAA deadline, but was granted the upgrade administratively by both District 3 and the PIAA staff.

That circumstance prompted the PIAA Board to propose a new policy that would permit late upgrades, but to have no effect on the qualifying standards.

I’ll be back with the blog at 2 p.m.

- – -

The meeting will begin shortly.

Meeting has begun.

Doing a review of the Team Championships and Individual Championships.  Based on Bob Lombardi’s report, it looks like the four-mat, all-place match format will continue.

Frank Vulcano of District 7 says he liked the format generally, suggest a new mat configuration to provide a better viewing opportunity for fans and get the medal stand out on the floor.

Bob Hartman of District 11 says there were more negatives than positive from D-11, primarily along the lines of not featuring the finalists enough.

It looks like the main adjustments that PIAA will consider are: (1) New mat configuration (a T-shape with two mats near the media tables, then single mats aligned in the middle of the floor with the championship bout mat dead center on the floor); (2) bringing the medal stand on the floor; (3) finding ways to highlight the finalists.

Agreed on this.  Let’s move forward one more year with the above tweaks.  I think it will work.

Discussion now on Penns Valley wrestler who missed weigh-in on Thursday morning.

Discussion now on the RFP (Request For Proposal) for the Team Wrestling and Individual Wrestling venue for the next four years.  Shouldn’t last long.

here comes the discussion on entries to the Team Championships.  This is where District 11 will make its case for an additional qualifier.

Bob Hartman of D-11 moves to expand the tournament to 20 teams in AAA and AA. Seconded by Frank Vulcano of D-7.

Talk about moving pigtail matches to Thursday morning at Giant Center dies quickly.  If 20-team is approved, pigtail matches will continue to be wrestled on Mondays.

Bob Lombardi is making the case for the 20-team bracket.  Believes that district runners-up should have the opportunity to participate.

Vote to send to the Board:  13-1 in favor of 20-team bracket for both Class AAA and Class AA.

District 5 is arguing for a second qualifier in AA.  Bob Lombardi says the staff will present that to the Board if the committee agrees.

Now, there is a motion by District 5 to expand the tournament to permit every district to include a runner-up for every district.  That motion fails, 10-4.

To clarify: The steering committee will move a proposed 20-team bracket in both Class AAA and Class AA instead of a 16-team bracket in both.  Districts 1, 2 and 5 will NOT receive a second qualifier in AA under this proposal, nor will District 12 in Class AAA.

Now, comes the discussion over the proposed regional alignment.

Here’s the nut:

The proposal is to move District 4 from the Northeast to the Northwest with Districts 6, 8, 9, 10 and to move District 12 from the Southeast to the Northeast with Districts 2 and 11. If that happens, it would leave District 1 with 62 AAA teams and District 3 with 63 AAA teams, giving the Southcentral Region the No. 4 qualifier to states for the next cycle (it had belonged to the Southeast).

That alone has caused some fireworks, but it was exacerbated by the fact that when the PIAA first drew up the proposal, Districts 1 and 3 each had 62 AAA teams. District 3′s 63rd AAA team came when Middletown, which has traditionally requested an upgrade to AAA from AA, sent in its request after the PIAA deadline, but was granted the upgrade administratively by both District 3 and the PIAA staff.

District 1 is arguing that if one or more of its AA teams wish to upgrade to Class AAA before the Board’s third and final reading, it should be able to do the same as Middletown did.

District 12 is now making the travel argument against moving to the Northeast Region.

Brad Cashman steps in and points out that moving D12 to Northeast provides better balance in terms of the number of schools in regional tournaments.  He said that PIAA has bent its own rules by allowing District 1 to keep the revenues of the Southeast Region Tournament and basically told D1 and D12 that it will make the Southeast an interdistrict regional (rather than a so-called self-contained region) and run the tournament from the PIAA office.

Brad also points out that several districts have extensive travel to regional tournament.  He specifically points out D2′s lengthy travel to Northeast in Bethlehem for years.  D9 points out its lengthy travel to Sharon for Northeast AA.

Still no decision by steering committee on what to recommend to Board regarding region alignment.  And I have some bad news:  I have to pick up my lax goalie at Central Dauphin at 5, which means I have to roll at 4:15 latest.

Lots of discussion.

First motion:  D12 remains in Southeast Region. D3 seconds.  Basically, it’s a vote to keep the status quo.

The vote fails: 1-12.

Darn it. Have to go. And the discussion about how to align the regions is ongoing.  Apologies, but that’s the Dad Duty factor.

OK, playing catch-up.  Bottom line: Unless the Board does something drastic, the AAA regional alignments will change for the next cycle: D12 to the Northeast, D4 to the Northwest.

 

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