The New York State Public High School Athletic Association's central committee on Wednesday approved a two-year trial run of the reduction of NYSPHSAA scholastic weight classes from 15 to 13. The 15-weight-class structure has been in use since 2012.
The just-approved 13-weight-class plan, passed on a 28-13 vote, had already been given a thumbs up by the state's wrestling committee, would be implemented for the 2020-21 school year, and would be similar to one approved earlier this summer by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA), reducing the number of weight classes for men from 14 down to 13.)
The new NYS plan, by the numbers
With the just-approved NYSPHSAA weight-class structure, "the committee lopped off the previous lowest weight class -- 99 pounds -- and reshaped a few others," the Syracuse Post-Standard reported Wednesday. "Previously, the classifications were 99, 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220, 285.
"The new ones are 102, 110, 118,126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 172, 189, 215, 285."
The previous weight-class structure had been in place for over a decade. The just-approved 13-weight-class structure will now be in effect for two seasons: 2020-21, and 2021-22.
What's the thinking behind the new plan?
In a nutshell, with the previous weight-class structure, some smaller schools found it challenging to be able to field an entire team of at least one wrestler per weight class… especially at the lower weights. Those squads were forced to start meets already down six points per forfeited weight class.
The issue was sparked by the difficulty some smaller schools were having fielding full teams, especially at the lower weights. Those squads were forced to start meets already down six points per forfeited weight class.
Here's a specific example cited in a number of newspaper articles this week as the new weight-class plan as been discussed throughout New York State.
Phoenix coach Gene Mills said his team had regularly forfeited at least two weight classes per dual meet last season, putting his team in a 12-point deficit right from the start.
"If there 10 weight classes, almost every single one of those schools could fill a roster," Mills said.
"Now, you have to find 15 kids who have a work ethic, pride. It (stinks) for the big schools that really have those numbers, but for a lot of the other schools it's tough (to field a complete lineup)."