Boy, take a day off, and you miss the world.

Recently, I’ve made it a habit to attend the PIAA’s sports steering committees (that’s where the seed is planted for changes in PIAA championships), and had every intention to attend last week’s football steering committee, but some other business intervened and I skipped it. Wish I hadn’t.

At that meeting, the football steering committee voted 11-0 with two members absent to propose move up the first date of football practice starting with the 2012-2013 school year.

In short, there has been much cursing and gnashing of teeth about the 16-week football season in Pennsylvania: Too long, runs deep into December, affects boys’ basketball and wrestling. All true, IMO. But the 16-week season has also allowed all PIAA districts to conduct their respective football championships as they wish (with just a few exceptions) and especially allows the WPIAL to retain its one-day, four-game championship day at Heinz Field.

As District 3 football chairman John Ziegler said at Tuesday’s meeting, “There’s no putting the 16-week genie back in the bottle.” Actually, it was something even a little more folksy, but I forgot to write it down.

As a result, the football steering committee is making a pitch to move up the start of football practice by a week statewide. As the 11-0 vote shows, the issue, which has been raised before and mumbled (rather than shouted) down, now has some serious support. In 2012, that would change the starting practice date from Aug. 13 to Aug. 6 and the first playing date from Aug. 31 to Aug. 24.

Ergo, the question: What’s worse, football on Aug. 4 or football on Dec. 11? And the other question: What’s worse, affecting 8 football teams and hundreds or basketball and wrestling teams or all of the state’s football teams?

District 3 knows where it stands on the issue: Heck, no.

District 3 will vote against the matter when it it raised at Thursday’s PIAA Board of Directors meeting in Hershey. And remember, there are 8 PIAA Board members who either represent, are associated with or live in District 3.

District 3 committee member Don Seidenstricker, the head football coach and AD at South Western High School in Hanover, summed up District 3’s basic position with the following: “This is insanity.”

He’s right, of course. The entire football season should be 15 weeks max (I prefer 14 weeks by shortening the regular season to nine games and expanding classes to six or seven, which these days is a bigger pipe dream than scoring the Mega Millions jackpot).

But the reality is this: Until some folks on the PIAA Board are willing to say “no” to their own, 16 weeks is the present and the future for Pennsylvania football. And an early start to the season, distatseful as it might be to many, the early start is the only solution to this mid-blowingly political problem.

 

Here are the results from Friday and Saturday’s PIAA Girls Volleyball Championships at Central York High School:

CLASS AAA GIRLS
Championship: Hempfield defeated Upper Merion 25-15, 27-25, 25-23
Pool play
Notes: Hempfield wins its third PIAA girls volleyball title, including AAA titles in 2006 and 2004. … Hempfield’s 77 game points are the second-most by a state champion in a three-game championship set. … Upper Merion’s 63 game points are the second most by a losing team in a three-game set behind Holy Name’s 64 in 2009. … Hempfield is now 3-1 in championship matches and is 9-5 in state finals games … Upper Merion was making its first state finals appearance.

CLASS AA GIRLS
Championship: merion Mercy Academy defeated West Allegheny 25-12, 25-17 and 25-10
Pool play
Notes: Merion Mercy won its fourth straight PIAA Class AA championship with its straight set triumph over West Allegheny, which was making its second PIAA championship match appearance. In fact, West Allegheny was the last team other than Merion Mercy to win a state title in 2006. … Since then, Merion Mercy was won not only four straight matches but 12 straight games. … Merion’s four straight titles is the most since Norwin won nine straight from 1976 through 1984; Norwin is the all-time PIAA leader in girls volleyball championships with 12, but hasn’t had one since 1988. … West Allegheny is now 1-1 in championship game appearances.

CLASS A GIRLS
Championship: Holy Name defeated Clarion Area 25-22, 23-25, 25-15, 25-22
Pool play
Notes: Holy Name wins its second Class A championship in three years, winning the 2008 championship. … Clarion was making its first championship game appearance … With the titles by Merion Mercy and Holy Name, private schools have won 11 of the last 15 girls’ volleyball state championships.

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I receive a lot of comments via e-mail, and today I was most pleased to receive this pleasant and appreciated comment from reader Bill:

From bill on Contact us #

Rod, Wonderful effort—-a grand display by you to keeping good things going. Can we send a donation or tribute? …

Well, first of all, many thanks to the otherwise anonymous Bill. Comments like that help keep my enthusiasm level high.

But Bill did bring up that rather sensitive subject of money. This gives me an opportunity to make a little pre-emptive announcement.

As a dot com, I cannot accept donations toward the site. I run a (very) small business, subject to the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and those fine folks at the Internal Revenue Service. So any income I derive through the website must come in the form of either sales or sponsorships.

I am on the cusp of seeking both. Soon – very soon – I will have some RodFrisco.com gear available for sale. No, you won’t have a slick, four-color brochure to peruse. I will have just one product to start: Simple, white T-shirts with the red-and-black RodFrisco.com logo across the front.

I will make those shirts available for sale via the website in a week or so; I still have to set up my PayPal account and install it on my site.

If you like the site, please consider purchasing one as a way of supporting the site. They will be sold a small profit, the monies of which will be used to support the site.

I do not plan on making RodFrisco.com a subscription site … ever. That’s not a great business decision, to be honest, but I have always believed that the information on the site should not be for sale. I just want readers throughout the state and beyond to have a vault of information that they can access 24/7 without the annoyance of logging in or even paying a small fee for the privilege.

The simple fact is I love covering and commenting on Pennsylvania high school sports and have since I wandered into The Progress of Clearfield 37 years ago looking for a job answering phones (thanks, Fred Kavelak!). It’s a passion, and passion doesn’t have a price.

The T-shirts will, though. But it will be a reasonable one. Look for the announcement soon.

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