HOOSICK, N.Y. -- Sectional committees across New York state have been asked to consider and discuss a proposal that could change or stop state championships for two years starting in 2013-14.
Based on financial concerns, Section XI officials, superintendents and athletic directors have raised issues with costs associated with their teams participating in state championships. According to the January 22 agenda from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s executive committee, Section XI wants the other sections to talk about the "curtailing, eliminating or putting a moratorium" on state championships.
Section IX encompasses all of the eastern end of Long Island.
According to Hoosick Falls Central School girls soccer coach Tom Husser, ideas to make changes to save money have been floated around, but nothing has been concrete as of yet.
"We’re always figuring out ways to save some money, and also asking how to bring in more revenue," Husser said.
Husser, the co-chairman for girls soccer in Section II, won a state championship in the fall, sharing the title with Section VIII’s Friends Academy.
"[Going to] the state tournament is a great experience for our athletes and it’s a shame that this is being discussed, but there’s a lot of steps to go before that," Husser said.
Former athletic director and boys basketball and baseball coach Mike Lilac was more blunt.
"It will never fly. The state tournaments have been around for years," said Lilac, who’s on the Section II boys basketball committee.
Hoosick Falls football coach Ron Jones said the opportunities to travel around the state and play in big games can outweigh the costs involved.
"It gives teams something to strive for -- a chance to play at the Dome or the [Civic Center] or wherever," said Jones, whose team has reached the state semifinal the past two seasons. "You get basketball players who come up from the inner city to play in Glens Falls and that’s a big deal."
One concern brought up by Section XI officials is the centralization of state championship events and selecting sites by desire to host.
In the 2012-13 season, boys and girls basketball states are in Section II, Glens Falls and Troy, respectively. Football is at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse (Section III), girls soccer is in Cortland (Section III) and baseball is in the Binghamton area (Section IV). Boys soccer will be at Middletown High School in Section IX.
"In Section II, girls soccer makes money, but only five or six sports do," Husser said. "It’s just a discussion at this point."
Some things have already been done to help schools save money, like reducing the number of games in a regular season. Girls soccer, for example, dropped from 18 to 16 games, Husser said.
Another easier option is to only bring the two final teams and not the four semifinal teams to a state championship site, Husser said.
"But it’s a catch-22," said Husser, who has coached the Panthers for 11 seasons, winning two state championships. "You would save the cost in only having one game, but you lose the revenue as well."
There’s also a non-monetary component, Jones said.
"It’s the cost of travel versus the reward of the experience," Jones said. "What’s the payout? It keeps students occupied and teaches life lessons of reaching your goals. It’s a lifetime memory."
Other ideas to save money include a different reimbursement structure to give more compensation for schools coming from farther away, according to the NYSPHSAA.
"It would be a shame," said Jones, referring to a moratorium. "Going to a state tournament is a special [achievement]. [Athletes] gain so much from being a part of it."