George Guido: No rules changes for basketball but some for wrestling

By: HSSN Staff
Tuesday, November 20, 2018 | 10:33 PM

No real rules changes took place in high school basketball during the offseason.

One clarification was made, however, on deflected balls near midcourt.

Now, a deflected ball by a defender in the frontcourt re-enters the backcourt, the ball may be recovered by the offensive player.

The rules committee for the National Federation of State High School Associations said it didn’t want a team disadvantaged because of a deflected ball.

Wrestling changes

Beginning this year, new definitions for inbounds and out of bounds highlight high school wrestling rules changes.

Now, a wrestler will be considered inbounds if two supporting points of either wrestler are inside or on the boundary line. This could be two supporting points of one wrestler or one supporting point of each wrestler.

The revised definitions for inbounds and out of bounds eliminate the “subjectivity with the out-of-bounds call without increasing the out-of-bounds area.”

The removal of the “majority of weight” from the definition will allow officials to focus on inbounds and out of bounds rather to being forced to make a judgment on where the majority of the wrestler’s weight is being supported.

Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and a liaison to the wrestling rules committee said there will be revised definitions of escape, reversals and takedowns.

“These changes were needed to reinforce our new position with increasing scoring opportunities by addressing the supporting point issue but not creating additional risk to the sport,” Hopkins said. “We defined what the usual supporting points are while down on the mat and how near-fall points or a fall shall be earned.”

Hopkins was a PIAA associate executive director before becoming part of the national organization.

Officials will be assisted in making a stalling call. The new criteria establish stalling in the neutral position also takes place when a wrestler is backing off the mat and out of bounds, as well as when the wrestler is pushing or pulling out of bounds.

Championship refs

While no local teams even came close to making the WPIAL football finals at Heinz Field, four local officials were on the field.

Mark Nitwoski of Lower Burrell worked the second game Saturday between Aliquippa and Derry, and Brian Ferra of Burrell and the father-son duo of Mike Jarosinski senior and junior were on the South Fayette-Thomas Jefferson game.

We Are … trail blazers

Football trail blazer Wally Triplett, the Penn State standout who was the first African-American draftee to play in the NFL, died recently at 92.

He was also one of two African-Americans who played for Penn State in the 1948 Cotton Bowl against SMU, which was the first such interracial contest in Texas

There was a local connection to Penn State integrating the Cotton Bowl.

New Kensington’s Sam Tamburro was a key defensive player for the Nittany Lions. When Penn State was invited to the Cotton Bowl, the university was told the team can come but had to leave its two black players — Tripplett and Dennie Hoggard — home.

The previous year, Penn State players met and canceled a game against Miami because they wouldn’t leave Tripplett and Hoggard behind.

Captain Steve Suhey rose and said, “We are all Penn State. There will be no meetings.”

Tamburro then started to chant, “We are all … Penn State.”

The locker room chant became a university-wide chant, albeit shortened to, “We are … Penn State.”

Cotton Bowl officials relented, and Penn State played SMU to a 13-13 tie.

George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.

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