Olean FB

Olean’s Gavin Kulp (left) wraps up Randolph running back Xander Hind (22) in the backfield for a loss of yards during a non-league Section 6 football game last September in Randolph.

While the question of when or how high school athletics return in New York remains unsolved, some changes to sports in all three seasons arose from the latest NYSPHSAA Central Committee Meeting.

On Wednesday, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association held its annual summer meeting of the Central Committee via video teleconference. The committee approved various rules changes for sports including three played prominently at Big 30 New York schools: football, wrestling and baseball.

— In football, the NYSPHSAA approved a waiver for the nights rest and maximum number of contests for JV players. This allows players to play in a junior varsity and varsity game in the same week, with two limitations.

A player could play twice in one week, if they only participate in a maximum of 10 plays in one contest, and if there are two nights rest in between. So in this case, a sophomore or freshman player could play up to 10 snaps on a Thursday or Friday night varsity game, then play a full JV game on Saturday or Monday.

“This should help smaller schools and greatly reduce the amount of JV postponements or cancelations,” Section 6 Football Federation co-chairman Ken Stoldt said in an email to media outlets. “In addition it should make things safer for the players. Currently a player could play an entire game on Friday and then play another 90 plays the next day because it would be played as a scrimmage. Now teams can stagger games to be two nights apart and play both as games instead of scrimmaging.”

— The committee approved a change to 13 weight classes, from14, in dual meets in an effort to reduce the amount of forfeited classes for a two-year pilot period starting with 2020-21. This follows a proposed rule in Pennsylvania, but with changes to the bottom three weight classes.

New York’s new weight classes would be 102, 110, 118,126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 172, 189, 215 and 285.

“The NYSPHSAA Wrestling Committee was very interested in addressing the lower weight classes we currently have in NY,” according to the meeting packet distributed to the media. “This is the reason for the recommendation of 102, 110, and 118. By recommending these weight classes it will provide schools with smaller rosters to compete in dual meets and bring back the competitiveness and focus of our dual meets.”

Of the 719 athletes to compete in the 99-pound weight class last season, 532 were in grades seven through nine. If a wrestler does not make the starting varsity dual lineup, they can still compete in a JV or exhibition match on the same day as the dual.

— The NYSPHSAA altered its pitch count rule, adopted in 2017, to allow pitchers to go deeper as the season goes along.

March pitch counts are as follows: 76-85 (four nights rest), 46-75 (three nights), 31-45 (two nights), 1-30 (one night).

The counts increase in April to: 96-10 (four nights), 66-95 (three nights), 31-65 (two nights), 1-30 one night). In May, they expand further: 103-125 (four nights), 72-102 (three nights), 41-71 (two nights), 1-40 (one night).

Before this change, pitchers would not be permitted to reach 125 pitches until the section postseason tournament. The NYSPHSAA Baseball Committee advised that a transition period “would take into account both the physical and mental health and well-being of pitchers by providing the opportunity to increase their workload over time,” according to the meeting packet distributed to the media.

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