(7-25-18) Officials from nearly 150 school districts met this week in College Park at the PIAA Playoff Equity Summit to find a consensus for changing the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s playoff format.

Philipsburg-Osceola Assistant Athletic Director Matt Curtis told WJAC TV:

“We believe that this is a problem and it needs to be addressed and hopefully this is going to show everybody, show the PIAA that we are concerned and we believe that there is a competitive balance and that we’re willing to fight for our student athletes.”

PIAA recently issued these figures listed below:

  • traditional schools won 67.2 percent of PIAA state championships in team sports in the last 10 years
  • 50 percent in football
  • 43.2 percent in girls basketball
  • 36.4 percent in boys basketball

Superintendent Leonard Rich of the Laurel School District in Lawrence County told KDKA TV in Pittsburgh:

“If you think about this, you understand that 82 percent of the membership is willing to settle for 67 percent of the championships. I think that’s fair and equitable, far more equitable than the situation we have today where 18 percent of the membership is winning between 60 and 75 percent of the championships if you look at the past 5 to 7 years. I think it would enhance competition. The bottom line is we are creating a platform of fairness for competition.”

The summit received 207 responses to its Athletic Competition Survey:

  • 99 percent of public schools believe private and charter schools have a competitive advantage thanks to boundary rules
  • 93.7 percent are in favor of separate playoff tournaments for public and private schools

Numbers of PIAA State Championships

Last week, the PIAA Board of Directors passed major changes that place stricter limits on postseason eligibility for transfer students, as well as a competitive-balance formula that begins in 2020-21 and will classify schools based on a variety of criteria beyond enrollment.  Those restrictions are not satisfying those who attended the summit.

summit paper

The summit presented two proposal for separate playoff tournaments:

• Creation of a seventh classification of private and charter “schools of choice” who would face each other in the PIAA playoffs. This classification could be divided into two subdivisions (small, large) with the “competition formula” used to dictate subdivision status for a school’s two-year cycle.

• Revert to the previous four classifications for traditional public schools and use classifications five and six for private and charter “schools of choice.”

New Castle Superintendent John Sarandrea in an indianagazette.com story said:

“Is there an appetite to explore secession from the Union, if you will, if our voices continue to be ignored?”

PIAA Statement to Equity Summit

The PIAA Board of Directors is made up of 32 diverse, elected representatives of all member schools and other constituencies, and represent each of the stakeholders present at today’s meeting in State College. It is grassroots representational democracy that has been effective for more than 100 years. Much of the information included in today’s presentations has been discussed by the Board, of which the overwhelming majority are public school employees. The Board anticipates that issues pertaining to eligibility and competitive equity will be forwarded to the Board through the proper channels, at which point they will be addressed. Open dialogue among all stakeholders will continue to be a strength of PIAA.

Other states with Private vs Public issues:

It has been a busy summer around the US, public vs. private is a major concern, it doesn’t look to be getting any better in the very near future. Is there a solution, there doesn’t seem to be in many states who want changes.