Yes, a post … and a 3 p.m. start for the PIAA Board of Directors meeting in Hershey.
In case you haven’t been keeping track, new executive director Dr. Robert Lombardi and the staff have done a great job of streamlining the Board meeting agenda. In short, Doc has made it a priority to cut out the fat in Board meetings … and the meetings have lost about 50 percent of their previous weight.
Gone are the lumpy, 200-page agenda packets. The agendas and items are out nearly a week ahead of time so BOD members aren’t hit with new matters when they walk in the door. And not the least, less talk, more action has been a focus under Doc Lombardi and new PIAA president Jim Zack (District 4 chairman).
Why this crazy 3 p.m. start time as opposed to the usual 7 p.m.? Well, more evil genius from the good doctor. Because there are 9 new Board members, Dr. Lombardi and other Board members thought it would be good for members to mingle and get to know each other a little better and take some of the mystery out of the process. Thus, the Board meeting starts early and dinner comes later, rather than the other way around.
But the real benefit of the new format is that Board meetings have moved much more quickly and efficiently. It helps, too, that there have not been any major issues in recent months to clog up the works. And there is no real hot-button issue on the agenda today. Nor are any hearings scheduled for tomorrow.
So, this meeting has the potential to be one of the quickest and least controversial in recent memory.
After the usual wave of co-operative sponsorships and financial reports – things are looking better for PIAA on the latter – the first real note of interest is the number of fall sports disqualifications, which are up 13 percent in soccer and 20 percent in football, not a good sign. There were 427 ejections in soccer (including girls), 356 players and 63 coaches. Really, it’s time to calm down on the pitch. Football wasn’t any better with 206 ejections, about the same as soccer when you extrapolate the number of games.
Most of the ejections were for foul language, according to assistant executive director Pat Gebhart.
A new policy in track and field will now permit PIAA to scratch an entire relay team at the state championship meet if a relay team member scratches for a reason other than a certified illness or injury and leaves the relay with less than four eligible members. The key phrase is “certified injury or illness”. An athlete cannot just wander up to the Meet Directors, say he’s hurt and leave the relay team. That injury or illness must be certified by a physician of medicine or osteopathic medicine or the meet referree.
Should a relay team be scratched under those circumstances, the next place finisher from that district will be eligible to take that spot.
One thing that will come up toward the end of the meeting is a report from the football steering committee. Since my daughter had to get her braces off today (yes, I scheduled it on a PIAA meeting day), I was unable to attend and have no idea what was discussed. We’ll all find together, eh?
A request by Taylor allderdice of Pittsburgh to play a season-opening game against Steubenville, Ohio, on Thursday, Aug. 29, one day before the legal start date for football, was turned down by the Board by a 22-8 vote (the motion was made for denial).
PIAA HAS ENTERED EXECUTIVE SESSION
PIAA HAS EXITED EXECUTIVE SESSION
Discussion has turned to football and a proposed heat acclimation program. The PIAA passed, on a first-reading basis, a policy that is modeled on New Jersey’s heat acclimation guidelines.
(1) The first three days of the PIAA-defined fall season will consist of no more than 3 hours of on-field practice time. For football, helmets only may be worn the first two days; full protective gear can be used after that.
(2) The maximum allotted time for practice per day is 5 hours. A 5-hour practice day may only be followed by a 3-hour practice day. Further practices are affected by this rule.
(3) A minimum of a 3-hour recovery period must be provided after any session greater than 2 hours in length. A 3-hour recovery period should be provided before a walkthrough.
(4) The proposed rule provides a guideline for incremental increases in activity to provide better heat acclimation.
Please note this rule passed on a first-reading basis only. There will be a lot of discussion going forward on the matter, and there could be changes in the language.