New York’s public high schools may move to a 13-class wrestling season starting in 2020-21, essentially cutting two weight classes.
At Wednesday’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association Executive Committee meeting, held virtually, state wrestling coordinator Marty Sherman discussed why the wrestling committee is proposing the two-year pilot program.
“The goal is to make our dual meets much more competitive,” Sherman said on the teleconference. “The number of defaults in these meets has been enormous.”
Under the proposal, there would be varsity weight classes of 102, 110, 118, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 172, 189, 215 and 285.
Sherman, the former Corinth head coach, said that those classes particularly address the lower weight divisions. Last season, 719 athletes competed in the 99-pound division. Of those, 532 of them were seventh-, eighth- or ninth-graders, who in most sports would compete on the junior varsity level.
The current 15 wrestling classes in New York state are 99, 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285. Those weights were initiated for the 2011-12 season.
“Our hope was that the National Federation of High Schools was going to help us and move forward with this, but they didn’t,” said Sherman, who noted the wrestling committee voted 7-3 with one abstention in favor of this proposal.
The issue will be voted upon at the executive committee’s July meeting.
In other items:
- The committee approved language allowing schools to have an eight-game regular season for the 2020 football season. The rule was proposed, in part, to address concerns that seasons were too playoff-driven with little concern for non-playoff teams. It also gives schools more flexibility in scheduling traditional rivalries.
- There was a discussion item about the desire of state public high school girls lacrosse teams being in favor of a possession clock. Girls lacrosse committee members were hopeful that governing bodies U.S. Lacrosse and the National Federation of High Schools would address the issue, but according to NYSPHSAA Assistant Director Todd Nelson, “It wasn’t even on their radar.
“It won’t take effect in 2020-21, or maybe not even ’21-22,” Nelson said, “but New York state, being a leader in girls lacrosse... we are going to make a proposal to the executive committee sometime over the next year to have a possession clock.”
- At the executive committee’s July meeting, it will vote on having boys ice hockey play 17-minute periods (currently 15) and adjusting penalty times from 1½ minutes (minor), 4 minutes (major) and 7½ (misconduct) to 2, 5 and 10, respectively. This would be effective for the 2020-21 season. It was done during the 2018-19 season, but the state had to revert back to the shorter times this past season due to a discrepancy with officials. The boys ice hockey committee feels the additional six minutes will allow more participation without necessarily adding ice rental time, which can be significant in some sections.
- The committee also will vote in July on amending the existing penalty for exceeding the maximum number of contests. Currently, the penalty is individual or team ineligibility from the date of violation for the rest of the season. The proposal would give schools the option to suspend the head coach for all team-related activities from the date of the violation for the rest of the season and forfeit any contests after the maximum number, but keep the team eligible.
- In regard to the COVID-19 task force that NYSPHSAA recently formed, executive director Robert Zayas did not offer a timetable for its recommendations to him or the committees and individual sections. The task force’s first meeting is scheduled for early June. Zayas said he did expect the state education department to waive the required physical exam for fall athletes sometime soon.