“Mr. High School Sports” – WPIAL, City League to Merge in Some Out-of-Mainstream Sports
By Matt Popchock
The WPIAL Board of Control is expected to approve the admission of Allderdice, Brashear, Carrick, and University Prep as members in certain sports when it convenes this approaching Monday.
Allderdice will join the WPIAL for the following sports beginning with the 2012-13 academic year: baseball, boys’/girls’ soccer, boys’/girls’ swimming, boys’/girls’ tennis, boys’/girls’ cross country, golf, and softball.
The other three will also join for soccer (both genders). In addition, Brashear and Carrick will play baseball and softball as part of District 7, and University Prep will merge for boys’/girls’ swimming.
However, the City League is expected to stay intact for at least one more season for football and basketball.
“We had a recommendation from the athletic committee to move into the WPIAL in all sports. But that’s not what we considered our best option currently,” City League athletic director Mike Gavlik told the Post-Gazette’s Mike White Tuesday evening.
“For those sports that are still remaining [in the City League], there is still enough competitive balance that we didn’t feel we had to go out and participate in the WPIAL,” he added.
Gavilk said the City League will re-evaluate its own situation in another two years, which begs the question, what will be left of the League by then?
If you look at how the local economy has affected Pittsburgh Public Schools, the League isn’t going to expand. It’s gotten progressively smaller, and it will be down to just six teams in football and basketball when Langley and Oliver shut down prior to the start of the next school year. Langley students will attend Brashear, and Oliver students will attend Perry.
Those six remaining schools will have to independently schedule as many as four football games apiece starting in 2012. Having followed City League football recently, Gavlik makes a good point about the level of competition, but even though the League has produced its fair share of D-1 talent, let’s just say the days of Curtis Martin, Rod Rutherford, and the like are a fading memory.
I will concede that the potential for short-term embarrassment would exist if the City League immediately merged with the WPIAL in that sport. However, I would also argue that with that short-term embarrassment would come a long-term benefit: the teams would grow from the experience and get better.
This is a good, practical move by the City League. I only wonder why the League does not further read the writing on the wall and get an early start on bolstering its programs in those other two sports.
In any event, we’ll have more on this story as it develops…
(Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/mpopchock)