PIAA can strengthen the competitive balance rule by adding all team sports, removing transfers

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Thursday July 14, 2022 | 9:26 p.m.


The PIAA looks set to rewrite its competitive balance rule to include all team sports, while making it easier for winning teams to move up the rankings.

The current rule only applies to football and basketball. As now written, it measures a team’s playoff success and counts the number of transfers added, but the PIAA Board of Directors tentatively voted Wednesday to remove the transfer element from the list entirely. formula.

That means teams could be forced into higher seeding against bigger opponents based solely on playoff success. The rule changes passed first reading and must pass two more votes at future PIAA board meetings to be signed into law.

The rule was first implemented in 2018.

“I think after four years, it feels like there are more successes than transfers,” PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said. “And transfer disputes go from A to Z. ‘The kid only played JVs. They played three games and they left. The success is over. You were in the first round, you were in the second round , you were in the quarter-finals, you were in the semi-finals or in the league.

The PIAA Board of Trustees met Wednesday at State College for its annual two-day workshop. Lombardi said the board was asked to review the past four years of the formula for success and determine what changes, if any, are needed.

“We went through every possible scenario,” Lombardi said. “The board said, we want to look at success, not transfers, but include all team sports.”

If the changes are approved, they could affect classifications for the next two-year cycle beginning in 2024-2025.

The current formula requires a team to accumulate six “achievement points” in a two-year PIAA cycle before eventual promotion. Teams receive four points for reaching the state finals, three for the state semifinals, two for the state quarterfinals, and one for reaching the first round.

But as the rule is currently written, a football team will not be promoted unless they also add three or more transfers within that two-year period. The threshold for basketball teams was one or more transfers.

Critics of the current rule have pointed to the dominance of teams such as southern Colombia football, which have won six of the last seven Class 2A PIAA titles. The Columbia County school had the necessary achievement points to progress, but successfully argued that it did not add three or more transfers over a two-year period.

In contrast, Aliquippa football was forced to upgrade from class 3A to 4A in 2020, freshman teams were promoted under the rule. This year, after winning the PIAA Class 4A title, the Quips faced promotion to 5A.

Aliquippa appealed, and the PIAA board allowed the Quips to remain in 4A. However, as part of its appeal, Aliquippa representatives had argued that the rule discriminated against low-income communities with transient populations.

Removing the transfer portion of the rule would eliminate this conflict.

Lombardi said sports-motivated transfers have generally become less troublesome in the state since the PIAA made all transfers after the start of the Grade 10 playoffs ineligible for one year.

This change also came into effect in 2018.

“The transfer rule has changed,” Lombardi said. “The post-10th grade playoff sit-out really had an impact.”

Championship venues

  1. Penn State will host the Boys’ and Girls’ State Lacrosse Finals at Panzer Stadium for the next four seasons, the PIAA announced after approving spring sports venues for the 2023-26 championships.

State Lacrosse Finals have been played at West Chester East since 2016.

The other Spring Championship venues remained unchanged. Penn State will host baseball at Medlar Field, softball at Beard Field and men’s volleyball at Rec Hall. The Track Championships remain at Seth Grove Stadium in Shippensburg. Hershey Racquet Club will once again host the Men’s Tennis Championships.

Chris Harlan is an editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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