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TAYLOR MADE: JUST MAKE A DECISION ALREADY! (2020-08-17)

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has not made a final decision on the fall sports start date, according to Dr. Robert Zayas, the NYSPHSAA Executive Director. Even though Sept. 21 is the scheduled start date, Zayas has tweeted that NYSPHSAA is awaiting further input from other state officials.

I'm becoming perturbed with NYSPHSAA's inability to decide the fate of fall sports. I fully understand the need for being cautious and playing it safe, but just put on your big boy pants a make a decision already! I guess, like many of you, I'm growing anxious and impatient to get going again. I covered a youth baseball game in Nichols and that is the only competitive sporting event I've been to since early March.

Personally, I feel the decision to hold a fall sports season should be left up to each school district. If your school board feels it is safe to compete, go ahead and play. Then, the decision on whether or not each individual athlete can participate should be left up to the parents.

I've heard a few parents claim if their child does not attend school in-person this fall, they would be ineligible to participate in interscholastic athletics. This is not true. Dr. Zayas recently tweeted that a student-athlete is eligible to participate if they are taking three courses and physical education. Therefore, hybrid and remote students are eligible.

Then there is the ongoing argument that students who are not attending classes in-person because their parent(s) feel it is not safe should not have the privilege of participating in interscholastic athletics.

ON THE GRIDIRON
The 2020 high school football season kicked off Thursday evening with Davis visiting Herriman. It may have been in Utah, but maybe it's a sign that we are returning to some sort of normalcy in our lives. Hopefully, it is also a sign of things to come for New York state gridders, who along with athletes in other fall sports, anxiously await the tentative Sept. 21 start date.

As of now, the first Section IV football games would begin the first weekend in October. With a 10-game season, to include two rounds of playoffs, the season would end the Dec. 4-5 weekend. The section could also decide to shorten the season or choose to cancel its postseason.

While Utah was NOT one of the 14 states to postpone the fall season until 2021 (according to MaxPreps.com), it was NOT immune to COVID-19 either. Four Herriman players and a staff member tested positive earlier this year while two other Utah teams canceled their Friday opener after three players from one of the teams tested positive.

As for the Utah game, it was a good one. Davis, ranked 14th, built a two-TD lead before Herriman closed the gap to 24-20 at halftime. Defense took over after intermission as Davis held on for a 24-20 victory.

MORE CHANGES
As I've mentioned before, the NYSPHSAA Central Committee approved drastic changes to weight classifications in wrestling last month, dropping from 15 to 13 for a two-year trial period. There are changes in other sports as well.

Another big change came in baseball with the introduction of new pitch counts. Beginning with the 2021 season pitch counts will increase by month. In March, if a pitcher throws 76-85 pitches in a game, he must have four nights rest. The number would increase to 96-105 pitches in April and 103-125 pitches

Pitch Counts
March
• 76-85 pitches (4 nights rest)
• 46-75 (3 nights)
• 31-45 (2 nights)
• 1-30 (1 night)

April
• 96-105 (4 nights)
• 66-95 (3 nights)
• 31-65 (2 nights)
• 1-30 (1 night)

May
• 103-125 (4 nights)
• 72-102 (3 nights)
• 41-71 (2 nights)
• 1-40 (1 night)

Field hockey will also see a couple of changes. The game clock will now continue to run when the score differential reaches five goals and defensive players will be allowed to wear goggles during penalty corners.

Tennis could finally start crowning a team state champion beginning with the 2021-22 school year.

SAD MOMENT Former Waverly wrestling coach Jim McCloe has passed away. He helped make Waverly and Section IV New York state powerhouses. The hall-of-fame mentor guided the Wolverines to 435 dual-meet victories. He also gets credit for coaching most of the program's 11 state champions, as well as numerous sectional champs and state qualifiers.

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