Bill would allow Pennsylvania to create separate postseasons for public, private schools

February 15, 2019 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
A Pennsylvania lawmaker plans to introduce a bill next week that would allow the state athletic association to create separate postseasons for public and private schools.

pennsylvania high school football
Photo: Gerry Dincher, Flickr

State Rep. Scott Conklin unveiled his proposal on Thursday during a press conference. Specifically, Conklin’s bill seeks to change a 1972 law that allowed private schools to participate with public schools. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) has indicated that the law prevents it from creating separate postseasons.

Conklin’s legislation reads: “For the purposes of playoffs and awarding championships, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association shall establish separate playoff systems and championships for athletics for public schools and private schools.”

Competitive imbalances are typically at the center of these proposals, and it’s no different in Pennsylvania.

From the Centre Daily Times:

Since Act 219 was signed in 1972, data has shown a competitive imbalance between boundary schools and non-boundary schools (private, parochial and charter institutions that can accept out-of-state, out-of-region transfers). According to a July memo from concerned public parties to the PIAA, 87 non-boundary schools have won 444 PIAA championships from the 1972-73 season through 2017-18. And 52.7 percent of those championships have been won by just 19 institutions — a staggeringly top-heavy figure.

Per PIAA statistics, non-boundary schools have won 64 percent of championships in boys’ basketball and 59 percent in girls’ basketball from 2008 to 2018. For football, it’s split down the middle, 22 to 22, between boundary and non-boundary schools.

Last year, Tennessee approved a total split between public and private schools, which will take effect with the 2019-20 school year. A similar proposal in Oklahoma was defeated.

Pennsylvania ranks sixth in the nation in high school sports participation totaling 319,867 student-athletes, according to the NFHS.

Read more from the Centre Daily Times.

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