Friday, August 12, 2011

Pingry School's Miller Bugliari Talks About ESPN RISE Boys' Soccer Preseason Top 10 Ranking

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSA Sports Hour

Pingry School (Martinsville, NJ) isn't the biggest school in the Garden State, but it certainly is big in boys' soccer circles.

The reason?

Head coach Miller Bugliari, who has given the sports a stable foundation since taking over the reigns of the team in 1960.  A half-century later, Bugliari is three wins away from 750 victories and has led Pingry to more than 20 New Jersey state and sectional championships.

Bugliari, who graduated from Pingry in 1952, joined me on Thursday's NHSCA Sports Hour to talk about a career that isn't slowing down.

2011 should be another very good year for the Big Blue.  ESPN RISE ranked Pingry #10 in its Preseason Boys' Soccer FAB 50 Poll.

Check-out the rest of the poll below:

ESPN RISE Boys Soccer Top 25 Preseason Rankings
1. Sacramento Jesuit (CA)
2. St. Benedict's Prep (NJ)
3. Forest Hills Central (MI)
4. DeMatha (MD)
5. Boylan Catholic (IL)
6. St. Ignatius (OH)
7. McDonogh (MD)
8. Granite Bay (CA)
9. St. Louis University High (MO)
10. Pingry (NJ)
11. E.O. Smith (CT)
12. Hempfield (PA)
13. Canton (MI)
14. Naperville North (IL)
15. North Central (IN)
16. Rockhurst (MO)
17. Eldorado (NM)
18. Myers Park (NC)
19. Episcopal (VA)
20. St. Thomas Aquinas (KS)
21. Martin Luther King (NY)
22. Christian Brothers Academy (NJ)
23. Cherry Creek (CO)
24. Christian Brothers Academy (MO)
25. Ballard (KY)

Click here to see the entire FAB 50

We Wanna Play Helping Kentucky Student-Athletes

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

In these difficult economic times, it great to hear about a group of people in Kentucky that are trying to help student-athletes that may not be able to participate in baseball and softball.

Thursday night on the NHSCA Sports Hour, I spoke with Roy Sturgill of WeWannaPlay, Inc. in Kentucky, a non-for-profit whose mission is to make sure that every student athlete that wishes to participate in middle or high school sports has that opportunity and is not held back by the escalating costs of participation fees.  The program is specifically designed for Frankfort, Franklin County and Western Hills high schools.

The organization was founded by Rob Hecker, who developed the idea  after years of being an involved parent and booster club member.  When Kentucky laws limiting the ability of booster clubs to raise funds through bingo, Hecker and his group of volunteers stepped-in to try to help.

WeWannaPlay sponsored its first group of student athletes in the spring of 2011.  It sponsored 32 athletes in softball and baseball using approximately $2,000 it had raised through a golf tournament.

To learn more or make a donation, go to

Thursday, August 11, 2011

High School Football Player with Down Syndrome Not Allowed to Participate Due to Age Restrictions

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Courtesy: Let Brett Bowden Play 
Facebook Page
Here's a story that proves that sometimes rules are meant to be broken or at least in some cases need to be bent.

On the surface, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association is doing the right thing by following its rule to not allow 19-year old Brett Bowden of Hobbton High School (North Carolina) to practice and play with his team because he is over the state's age limit for participation.  However, Bowden, who is a junior, has down syndrome and this is where, I think, common sense needs to come.

Bowden has spent the last two season wearing a full uniform during the games and practicing with his teammates.

According to several published reports, Bowden's teammates and the community have found his position on the team to be inspirational.  That is evidenced by the fact that more than 47,000 people have signed-up for the "Let Brett Bowden Play" Facebook page in the last two days.

The rule states that student-athletes who turn 19 on or before August 31st are ineligible to play.  Brett turned 19 in May.

Yesterday, one story headline from read that the Brett had been "kick-off the team".  That caused NCHSAA commissioner Davis Whitfield to issue a statement that reads:

"I want to be clear that the student-athlete has not been 'kicked off the team,' " Whitfield said. "Brett Bowden could still be a part of the team, lead his team on the field, wear his jersey and be with his teammates, including some of the postgame activities he has done in the past."

Bottom line here, I do believe that rules are rules.  However, in this case, what is it going to hurt to allow Brett to suit up for the games as long as he doesn't go onto the field to participate in an actual game?

Here's hoping that common sense prevails and Brett is allowed to wear his uniform proudly once again!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Illinois Continues to Test High School Athletes for Performance-Enhancing Drugs

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

High school football practice begins tomorrow in Illinois, and with it comes news that the Illinois High School Association will continue to test its athletes for performance-enchancing drugs.

During the 2010-11 school year, the IHSA tested 747 student-athletes with four positive tests.  Two of the four athletes were cleared by a medical review officer.  The other athletes were the first two punishable tests since the testing program began during the 2008-09 school year.  Over the first three-years, 1,758 tests were administered.

“Some people will look at the number of positive test results and conclude that the testing is not working,” said Marty Hickman, IHSA Executive Director.  “But, it is important to maintain perspective. The scope of our testing was never going to be large enough to catch every student who may be using performance-enhancing drugs. The program was put into place to be a deterrent to help prevent students from using these harmful drugs and we believe it is successfully serving that purpose.”

Illinois became the fourth state to test its athletes for PEDs.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bubba Starling Still Trying to Decide Between Major League Baseball and College Football

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

On April 3rd when we spoke with Gardner Edgerton's (Kansas) three-sport athlete Bubba Starling on the NHSCA Sports Hour, we knew the young man was going to have a major decision.

Starling had already committed to play football at the University of Nebraska, but he also knew in a couple of months, he would be a high pick in the Major League Amateur Draft.  When draft day came, he was taken with the fifth pick overall by the nearby Kansas City Royals, and that made the decision even bigger.

When I asked him on the April 3rd show which way he was leaning, he said, "I don't know if I'm ready for that big step going from high school baseball to major league baseball, as far as maturity.  I just think the best thing for me to do right now is to go up to Nebraska and play two sports there."

Well, when Nebraska opened fall camp last week, Starling wasn't in Cornhusker red-and-white, but he also wasn't wearing a Royals uniform either.  However, he is enrolled in Lincoln.

Now the clock is ticking toward midnight on August 15th.  That's when Starling must sign a major league contract with the Royals or wait two more years to be drafted again.

It's been reported that Starling, who is represented by super-agent Scott Boras could receive a MLB contract with a signing bonus in excess of $7 million dollars.

So for now, Cornhusker fans are turning Royal blue while holding their breath in anticipation of Starling's decision.

As far as Starling, he texted a message to the Kansas City Star last week saying, "It's getting really stressful now, too".

Click here to listen to our interview with Starling.

Meanwhile, the #4 overall pick Dylan Bundy of Owasso High School in Oklahoma is also faced with a similar decision. If the Baltimore Orioles don't sign the righthanded pitcher by August 15th, he'll attend Eastern Oklahoma State College.

Click here to listen to the June 12th interview with Bundy.

PIAA Executive Director Brad Cashman to be a Guest on August 11th NHSCA Sports Hour

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

The man who has helped shape the Pennsylvania high school sports landscape for nearly two decades will join me on Thursday's NHSCA Sports Hour.

Brad Cashman, executive director of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association for the past 18 years, will talk about his career at the PIAA that will end at the end of the 2011-12 school year when he retires.

One of Cashman's biggest achievements was the development of current Pennsylvania state football playoff system.  He also spearheaded the inclusion of the Philadelphia public schools and Philadelphia Catholic League into the PIAA.

Thursday's NHSCA Sports Hour begins at 6PM EST.

Click here to listen to the show LIVE on Thursday.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August 4th NHSCA Sports Hour Topic: Sports Concussions

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

28 states now have high school sports concussion laws, while another 15 states are considering legislation to protect high school athletes.

Thursday night on the NHSCA Sports Hour, I'll be joined by Dr. Lamar Hasbrouck, a former three-sport high school athlete in San Diego, to talk about the need for education and how players can protect themselves from brain injuries while playing sports.

Dr. Hasbrouck, who is currently a Commissioner of Health in Upstate New York and a Board-certified Medical Internist, has a wealth of knowledge on the subject beyond his medical background.  Dr. Hasbrouck played four years as a defensive back at the University of California in the PAC-10.

Washington was the first state to pass sports concussion legislation in 2009.  Under the legislation, athletes are removed from practice or a game and not allowed to return until they obtain a written return-to-play authorization from a medical professional trained in the diagnosis and management of concussions.

Click here to listen to the show.