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Guido: NCAA does Cager Classic favor

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By George Guido
Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 1:06 a.m.

The Cager Classic all-star game got some unexpected good news recently.

The NCAA discontinued a regulation prohibiting an athlete from participating in more than two all-star games.

This will bode well for the Cager Classic, which has been at Highlands for the last 18 seasons.

There have been times when athletes were faced with playing locally or choosing some higher-profile games involving athletes from an area much larger than the Alle-Kiski Valley.

For instance, Hampton twins Ryan and Collin Luther bypassed the Cager Classic this season, opting for all-star games at Geneva College and Chartiers Valley.

“We lost the twins this year, and I understand,” said Glenn Mills, one of the Cager Classic founders who remains on the event's steering committee.

“If they would have changed that rule earlier, they might have been here. But this will definitely help us in the future.”

It has come into question over the years as to how much jurisdiction the NCAA has over high school athletes outside of relationships to potential colleges.

Now what I would like to see is somebody organize a football all-star game similar to the Cager Classic.

A good time to have that would be Thanksgiving Day morning somewhere in the A-K Valley.

The regular seasons would be over, people returning to the area for the holiday weekend could attend the game, many residents are off that day and the game would be over in time for everybody's Thanksgiving dinner.

Plus, a Thanksgiving Day game wouldn't interfere with WPIAL finals day at Heinz Field.

Thanksgiving high school football is a huge tradition in the eastern part of the state and New Jersey that dates to the late 1800s.

WPIAL playoffs on track

Despite the fact the high school baseball and softball regular season had to be extended a couple of days so schools can scramble to make up recent rainouts, the WPIAL playoffs in both sports are still on track to begin Monday.

The WPIAL office said Tuesday morning that the softball committee meeting is still set for Thursday, and the baseball committee will convene on Friday.

Playoff brackets are expected to be distributed several hours after the meetings are concluded.

It will be interesting to see where local teams will be seeded.

Deer Lakes could be a the top seed, or something close to it, in Class AA softball.

In baseball, where Deer Lakes and Freeport will be seeded is certainly a matter of Class AA intrigue.

Proposed Highlands reunion

Several Highlands baseball coaches are gauging interest in a possible reunion of former players this summer.

Head coach Jeff Weissert and assistants Bill Murray and Bob Haggerty, all Golden Rams baseball players from the late 1980s, are hoping for an alumni game and reception afterward. A similar event took place for several years before the reunion took a hiatus last year.

If interest warrants, a target date could be July 26 to coincide with the final day of the Freeport International Baseball Invitational.

But field use at Highlands needs a school board OK along with other paperwork.

To get the process going, Golden Rams baseball alumni can contact Weissert at 724-594-5466, Murray at 724-351-2468 or Haggerty at 412-779-1608.

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

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