HARRISBURG (KDKA) — Thanks to complaints started by coaches in the WPIAL, there could finally be change coming in high school athletics.
A hearing in Harrisburg on Monday was the first step to that change.
Should public and private schools compete together or should there be separate championships, especially when it comes to football and basketball? Most public schools claim the current system is unfair because private and Catholic schools can recruit while public schools can’t.
At Monday’s hearing before the state House and Senate committee that oversees the PIAA, the group’s executive director, Dr. Robert Lombardi, revealed that instead of changing the format for championships, they’re considering changing the whole classification formula from the ground up.
“Schools have been put in competition classifications based on enrollment only,” Lombardi said. “We are currently considering, and the board has passed on a first reading, a competition classifciation formula that addresses the success of teams and teams that receive transfers. This appears to be the crux of the complaints from the membership.”
“I feel you’ve come up with a good plan and I’d love to hear feedback from the superintendents and athletic directors,” Pennsylvania Senator Scott Morton said.
“There’s no question that the concern and criticism has intensified recently,” Rep. Gene DiGirolamo said. “The concern is the private schools have an advantage over the public schools.”
Not only would the classification formula change rate to how successful a school is and how many transfers they have — the PIAA is also considering creating yet another classification.
The 7A classification would cover the huge powerhouse basketball and football schools.
This all still has to pass the full PIAA board and even if it does, it wouldn’t happen until at least 2021.
Lawmakers who were at Monday’s hearing sounded like they’re in support of the idea and think it could go a long way to making things more fair.