Whether it is through the thrill of victory or heartbreak of defeat, our children learn many lessons from participating in organized sports.  As parents, grandparents, teachers, and coaches, we teach our student-athletes to always practice sportsmanship and play fair.  However, when the system in which they play gives others an unfair competitive advantage, hard work, perseverance, resilience, respect, and self-discipline are difficult lessons to reinforce.  Accordingly, I am introducing a resolution to direct the PIAA to create separate plays for public (boundary) and private (non-boundary) schools.
On September 20, 1972, the General Assembly gave the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA), permission to admit qualified private schools.  While the PIAA argues the legislative intent of Act 219 of 1972 was to allow private schools to participate in post-season athletic contests with public schools, the Act, as adopted, is much broader in scope.
The PIAA, a non-profit corporation with limited legislative and Commonwealth oversight, has a significant level of autonomy.  Schools admitted to the PIAA must adhere to all PIAA governing documents including its constitution, bylaws, and rules and regulations.  The broad authority vested in the PIAA Board of Directors in Article VI of the PIAA Constitution includes Section 1(K), which grants the Board the power, “To have general control of Inter-District Championship Contests.”  Further, as evidenced by its decision to expand school classifications for certain sports on October 7, 2015, the Board has the authority to determine school eligibility for post-season contests.
A lot has changed since 1972 including the growing number of charter and other private school options.  On June 18, 2018, in a meeting of the Pennsylvania Athletic Oversight Committee, the PIAA acknowledged that in reversed course on including the terms “boundary” and “non-boundary” for PIAA purposes, “due to legislative concerns that could lead to separating private schools from post-season competition…” Those concerns, from fair competition to safety, are very real.  Despite its opinion on the matter, it is time the PIAA protect our student-athletes and create fair and equitable opportunities by establishing separate playoffs for public and private schools.
Please join me in asking the PIAA to exercise its autonomy and implement separate playoffs for public and private school.