The PIAA Legislative Oversight Committee recently held a public hearing at the state Capitol to receive testimony regarding classifications of high school sports, boundary and non-boundary schools and other issues surrounding public/private school post-season competition.
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference’s Director of Education, Sean McAleer, testified before the committee, outlining the Catholic schools’ perspective.
He added,” The PIAA Board and Administration consistently revise and amend the PIAA Constitution and By-laws to create a more level playing field for all membership schools in all sports. Historically, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference has supported most changes and worked with the PIAA Board and Administration to resolve any issues. The PCC supports the three newest PIAA proposals that would address current concerns:
- All PIAA transfers will soon be transparent, so anyone can see which schools are receiving the most transferring students. Just as the word transparency is used to demonstrate how government agencies spend tax dollars, it too will be used by the PIAA to increase the availability of information about student transfers. Data with respect to all transfers will soon be online for everyone to see. This tool will be very effective in the future to identify questionable transfers for all PIAA membership schools, so no one will be able to hide such information anymore. This is a 180 degree change from current practice; and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference supports this change.
- PIAA has passed a new transfer rule that went into effect for all spring sports and all winter and fall sports in the future. Now any student transferring from a school, who previously was eligible to play 50% of the former school’s games in any particular sport, is not eligible to play that sport at the new school for the remainder of the year. Also, any transferring student must sit out for 21 days before competing in any game for a new school. Of course, any parent can request a hearing with the PIAA district committee to seek a waiver, but these two measures will definitely help the PIAA with questionable transfers; it is likely that we will not see as many transfers or questionable transfers as we saw in the past. The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference also supports this change.
- The PIAA Administration also introduced a classification rule that utilizes a point-based and transfer-based scale at the last Competition Committee meeting that the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference supports and PCC is working with PIAA and all stakeholders for its implementation. All the details regarding the new proposed rule are still being worked out, but generally if any school (public or private) qualifies for state competition in football or basketball, which seems to be the two most problematic sports programs, and the school has student transfers on its team, it could be elevated to a higher classification for the next two year cycle.”
The committee is expected to hold an additional hearing this summer to receive more feedback from various stakeholders.