PIAA BOD Meeting Notes: Dec. 12, 2013

District 3 will provide notes from today’s PIAA Board of Directors Meeting at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in this space.  The regular session begins at 4 p.m. Please refresh to update.

The BOD meeting is about to begin.  The agenda is here.

The BOD meeting has begun.  PIAA moved off-agenda for a report from PIAA lobbyist Andrew Goodman, who noted the General Assembly’s recent recognition of PIAA’s 100th year.  PIAA will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Dec. 29.  That was followed by a report from PIAA auditor Boyer & Ritter basically affirming PIAA’s solid accounting procedures.

The Board is going through the list of co-operative sponsorships for both the remainder of the 2013-2014 season and the upcoming 2014-2015 school year.  No District 3 schools are affected by this set of co-ops.

Going to fall sports steering committee recommendations:

Tennis – Lots of discussion on the matter of doubles tennis.  This year, a player who had qualified for PIAA doubles after the district championship was injured prior to the PIAA Championships and was unable to compete.  PIAA did not a have by-law controlling that specific issue and made a decision to allow a substitute based on the swimming and track & field relay rule; alternates are permitted to replace relay members in the case of injury.

However, swimming and track provide for alternates.  Doubles tennis does not.  So the tennis steering committee proposed that in the event of injury, illness or other extenuating circumstances that “caus(es) one of the two players not to continue, that PIAA District is responsible to 1) replace the affected Doubles Team entry and 2) resubmit that District’s entry(ies) to the state tournament.”

That proposal failed by a significant number.  The Board then directed PIAA staff to develop a policy covering such a circumstance and deliver it to the Board.

Volleyball – The PIAA Volleyball Steering Committee requested that PIAA establish policy that no teams from the same district meet in the opening round of the PIAA Volleyball Championships.  On the advice of PIAA executive director Dr. Robert Lombardi, the Board rejected the proposal primarily because the classifications might render that situation moot (i.e., the brackets for the next cycle may self-correct this problem based on the number of qualifiers for a given classification).  In addition, such a vote may affect other sports in which first-round matchups of teams from the same PIAA district are unavoidable.

Field hockey – No major actions

Golf -The BOD approved the establishment of the same date for PIAA Regional Golf Tournaments.  Previously, the East and West Region dates were on separate days to enable PIAA staff to properly administer the events.  Changes in the way the staff now administers the Region Tournaments prompted the change.

In addition, the BOD approved the establishment of an alternate for Team Golf.  Teams previously had to use the five players it used in the district championships; the new rule gives coaches more flexibility to determine their state championship lineup.

Good Friday, 2016 – In 2016, the scheduled start date for spring sports is Friday, March 25.  The BOD, on staff recommendation, approved the previous day – March 24 , 2016 – to be the official start date for spring sports.

Football – Some questions arose about site selection for interdistrict games, especially involving schools that are in non-contiguous districts (districts that do not touch geographically).  PIAA staff made efforts this year to place games as close to mid-point as possible, but also took into consideration the mileage logged by surviving teams in previous rounds.  The latter is not covered by the current policy.  Essentially, Dr. Lombardi asked the BOD for more flexibility than currently allowed by the non-contiguous language to enable PIAA to select a more appropriate site taking all circumstances into account.

That language currently calls for PIAA to choose a neutral site in another district.  Example: Archbishop Wood (District 12) and Berwick (District 2) played their Class AAA semifinal in Allentown (District 11).

But PIAA went against that policy for other games.  There are two real-world examples involving District 3 football teams this year.

In AA, Berks Catholic was able to play its semifinal game against Imhotep Charter at Governor Mifflin because Imhotep had played Wyomissing the previous year in Philadelphia.  That situation occurred because District 12 could never host a non-contiguous playoff game; almost any such games would have to be at a District 1, 3 or 11 site depending on opponent.

In A, Steel-High traveled into District 2 (Hazleton) to face a District 2 opponent (Old Forge) even though the policy would essentially put that game in District 4 or District 11.  But Dr. Lombardi took into account that Old Forge had traveled extensively in PIAA playoffs while Steel-High had not.  So he made the decision out of fairness, even though the policy did not permit it.

The BOD approved the recommendation.  This now enables PIAA staff to ignore the language covering non-contiguous games if circumstances merit such a position.

Mixed Gender Participation – The mixed gender proposal, which essentially seeks to ban boys from playing on girls’ teams, was schedule for a first reading.  It has been moved to executive session.