Under proposal, PIAA could launch own investigations into schools accused of breaking rules

(Greensburg) Tribune-Review (TNS)
  • The PIAA is considering multiple proposals meant to address competitive balance.
  • Under one proposal, the PIAA could launch its own probes into schools accused of breaking rules.
  • The PIAA won't take up the boundary vs. nonboundary debate, or split member schools into separate playoffs.

The PIAA someday could launch its own investigations into schools accused of breaking the rules.

PIAA executive director Robert Lombardi.

There are multiple proposals before the PIAA board this summer meant to address competitive balance, transfers and schools that skirt the rules, said executive director Bob Lombardi, including the possible creation of a compliance committee with investigative duties.

“Some (schools) are playing a lot more fairly than others,” he said. “Of the ones that are not playing fairly, let's shine the light on them to prove that they're playing fairly.”

The PIAA administration won't take up the heated boundary vs. nonboundary debate and split member schools into separate playoffs as some requested, but the board is seeking other ways to ease competitive balance concerns, Lombardi said.

Among the proposals discussed recently were two other significant rule changes.

►Students who transfer high schools after ninth grade would be ineligible to participate in the postseason that year, unless granted a waiver.

►A competitive balance formula could change a team's classification based on postseason success and the number of transfers into that program.

The proposals were approved on a first-read basis by the PIAA board and could be enacted in July, if the board chooses.

A team would move to a higher classification if it collects six or more success points over a two-year cycle and also surpassed the transfer threshold of one less than that sport's starting lineup. For football, that would be five in two years.

“If the kids are homegrown and you get a good four-year run, you don't go up,” Lombardi said. “But if you're taking kids and you're winning, then you go up.”

A team would receive four success points for winning a PIAA title, three for reaching the PIAA semifinals, two for reaching the quarterfinals or one for winning a district title.

The PIAA will start counting points and transfers during the 2018-19 school year, but they wouldn't impact classifications until 2020-21, if approved.

“There are one million what-ifs,” Lombardi said. “We're going to have to go down the road slowly because I think we're going to answer a lot of what-ifs.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.