By PIAA rule, today is the first playing date of the 2008-09 basketball season.
So, why were Public League coaches all week trying to call in results, and box scores, of non-league contests involving teams from different divisions to the Delaware Valley Score Service, which services the Daily News and Inquirer?
"This is a rough estimate, but I'd say at least 20 games involving Pub teams were called in,'' said a Score Service employee, who wished to remain anonymous. "We wouldn't take the results. Some of the coaches were upset. We just told them, 'You're not allowed to play games. You can only have scrimmages before [today]. Two of them.' ''
Yesterday, even a Division D league game was played between two new varsity programs, A. Philip Randolph and Science Leadership. It originally was scheduled for today, but SL's playing site was unavailable. SL coach Matt Kay said Randolph won by eight points.
Kay said he cleared the date change through Charles Sumter, the PL basketball chairman. One of his duties is the assigning of refs.
Robert Coleman, overseer of Pub sports and the District 12 chairman, said Randolph and SL were "dead wrong" in playing the game. Though he intends to give the schools due process, he indicated the game will be ruled a double forfeit. Brad Cashman, executive director of the PIAA, said a double forfeit could be "one of several penalties.''
What if many more supposed scrimmages actually were contested as games?
"We'll have some issues then,'' Coleman said. "We'll investigate this thoroughly.''
Earlier this week, a Pub player e-mailed the DN to ask why the result of his school's game had not been published.
"I scored 40!'' he added.
Attempts to reach Sumter were unsuccessful. However, Coleman said he spoke to Sumter and was told by him, "We have some younger coaches who don't know the rules.'' Coleman added, "Everybody knows the starting dates.''
He said he intends to convene another coaches' meeting "to read these guys the riot act. This is our fifth year [in the PIAA]. Everybody should know the rules . . . Guess Plaxico Burress isn't the only one shooting himself in the foot.''
OK, it was the thigh. Still a good line. *