Pennsylvania bill would separate public, private HS playoffs

June 12, 2019 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
A Pennsylvania lawmaker introduced a bill Tuesday that would create separate state championship brackets for public and private schools in most major sports.

basketball champions celebrate

Dubbed the Parity in Interscholastic Athletics Act, Rep. Aaron Bernstine’s proposal splits postseason tournaments for football, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer and girls volleyball. The bill has the support of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA).

“This is the first time in 40 years that both sides have sat down in a non-adversarial setting to resolve these challenges and understand each other’s goals,” Bernstine said in a press release. “At the end of the day, everyone was focused on making sure the end result was in the best interest of the students both athletically and academically.”

Act 219 of 1972 amended the state’s public school code allowing nonpublic schools to be members of the PIAA. That created the current combined playoff structure.

“This legislation is a positive change that will lead to a more predictable, open and beneficial system for student athletes across Pennsylvania,” said Pennsylvania Catholic Conference Executive Director Eric Failing. “We can’t thank Rep. Bernstine enough for bringing all parties together and for his work on this issue.”

Bernstine’s proposal also would:

  • Eliminate the transfer rule, making a student immediately eligible after transferring schools if they meet all other eligibility standards. Restrict in-season transfer eligibility with exceptions granted for certain extenuating circumstances.
  • Disqualify a team for PIAA playoffs if it forfeits two or more regular-season games in one season.
  • Allow for separate playoff brackets to be used in additional team sports if there are at least 50 public and 50 nonpublic schools participating in the sport.
  • Increase fairness in the PIAA’s district committees to ensure each district accurately reflects the makeup of schools in that given area.

Read more from the Williamsport Sun-Gazette.

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