Section 1’s decision to reduce the number of regular-season games was approved statewide yesterday at a meeting of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s executive committee in Binghamton.
In a change that will last at least until the spring of 2011, football will be reduced from 10 regular-season games to nine; sports with 24 games (baseball, softball and hockey) will be reduced to 20; sports with 20 games (boys and girls basketball) will be reduced to 18; and sports with 18 games (lacrosse and soccer) will be reduced to 16.
The reduction in games was one of seven cost-cutting measures approved by the committee. Others included using central locations for state championships - which seemingly rules out the New York City area and Section 1 - along with using conference calls and video conferencing for PHSAA meetings, cutting the number of executive meetings from four to three, and using host officials for regional games.
Each section had two representatives in Binghamton to look at 13 proposals recommended by the ad hoc fiscal-concerns committee. The measures needed a majority to be approved. Section 1 was represented by executive director Jen Simmons and Bronxville athletic director Karen Peterson.
"Everyone in the room understands the fiscal issues that are facing districts, and we’re not sure how the state budget’s going to pan out," Peterson said. "I think the sense was: What could we do to try and save programs for our kids? How can we cut costs so a district won’t cut modified or junior-varsity sports teams? What can we do to cut costs with the least amount of effect on kids?"
While the state’s proposal to reduce the number of regular-season games won’t take effect until the fall, Section 1 already has instituted it for this spring. The section also approved a cost-cutting measure this month that will establish geographically based leagues to replace those based on school size or ability, beginning in the fall.
Two other proposals the PHSAA considered - to decrease the number of classes and the number of teams or individuals in state tournaments - were sent back to the championship-advisory committee for more information. And no vote was taken on proposals to limit out-of-state travel or establish a maximum number of scrimmages. Those issues might come up again in May at the executive committee’s next meeting.
"The rationale supporting these incremental reductions will have a significant impact for our member schools," NYSPHSAA executive director Nina Van Erk said in a statement. "For example, the savings realized by schools may act to protect lower level programs such as modified from being eliminated."
Peterson said that Section 1 did not have a "glaring disagreement" with any of the decisions made by the entire committee.
NYSPHSAA cost-cutting measures
Here is how the NYSPHSAA Executive Committee voted on the cost-cutting proposals it considered:
1. Support the use of telephone conference calls and video conferencing for NYSPHSAA meetings to reduce the travel reimbursements costs for the NYSPHSAA and sections. Approved
2. Support the use of officials from the host section at all NYSPHSAA regional contests, except when the sections involved mutually agree to use neutral officials. Effective with the 2009-2010 season and continuing to 2010-2011 school year. Approved
3. Support a moratorium on the expansion of existing NYSPHSAA tournaments as it pertains to participation. Approved
4. Centralized sites should be considered as part of the bid process for state tournament site selection when it can be proven that cost savings outweighs other criteria. Approved
5. Support the reduction of the maximum number of contests permitted during the regular season. Sports with 24 contests will be reduced to 20, sports with 20 contests will be reduced to 18 and sports with 18 contests will be reduced to 16. Wrestling will be reduced to 20 points. Football will be reduced from 10 to nine. The ninth game is permitted, with section approval, for teams who do not qualify for sectional play. For the teams involved in the sectional tournament the maximum number of contests shall be 10. For the sections involved in the state championship three additional games are permitted for a total of 13 games for the season: one game for regionals, one game for semifinals, and one game for championships. Effective for 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. Approved
6. Support the reduction of the number of classes and divisions in team and individual NYSPHSAA Championship competition. Referred to championship advisory committee.
7. Support the reduction of participants in NYSPHSAA championships in individual and combination (team/individual) sports. Referred to championship advisory committee.
8. Support the reduction of tournaments (multi-school competition) for team and individual sports. No action
9. Support the establishment of a maximum number of scrimmages permitted by a team to two scrimmages for varsity, JV and freshman and one scrimmage for modified. No action
10. The executive committee will meet three times per year with one meeting at the site of the central committee meeting. Approved
11. Support the establishment of a team travel restriction for all member schools limiting out-of- state team travel to competition with bordering states only. No action
12. Support the establishment of a moratorium eliminating mandated attendance beginning with the 2009- 2010 school year at the following NYSPHSAA workshops: Safety, Life of an Athlete, Sportsmanship and Chemical Health workshops. Approved
13. Support eliminating participation in the NFHS Student Leadership Conference. Denied
The approved changes will take effect immediately unless specifically noted.
Section 1 realignment
By a vote of 59-16 earlier this month, Section 1 schools voted to change from their current conference alignment to a system where every sport but football will use geography as the overriding factor. Here is a look at the new alignment:
Yorktown, Lakeland, Panas, Carmel, Mahopac, Lincoln Hall, Kennedy, North Salem, Dover, Pawling, Brewster, Peekskill, Ossining, Hen Hud, Haldane, Croton-Harmon, Putnam Valley, John Jay-East Fishkill, R.C. Ketcham, Arlington, Beacon, Poughkeepsie
Yonkers, Gorton, Lincoln, Saunders, Roosevelt, White Plains, Scarsdale, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, Ursuline, Irvington, Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley, Woodlands, Sleepy Hollow, Solomon Schechter, Pelham, Bronxville, Tuckahoe, Eastchester, Edgemont, Leake & Watts, Palisades, Riverside, Greenburgh, MLK, Children’s Village, Clark Academy
Greeley, Fox Lane, John Jay, Somers, Byram Hills, Port Chester, Blind Brook, Rye, Harrison, Keio, Rye Neck, Briarcliff, Valhalla, Westlake, Pleasantville, Hamilton, Hawthorne Cedar Knolls
Albertus Magnus, Clarkstown North, Clarkstown South, Nanuet, Nyack, North Rockland, Pearl River, Ramapo, Spring Valley, Suffern, Tappan Zee