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PIAA could rewrite co-op rule, making combined teams easier for schools

CHRIS HARLAN
(Greensburg) Tribune-Review (TNS)
Bob Lombardi

The PIAA could rewrite its co-op rule this summer, making it easier for two schools to form a combined sports team.

Currently, to cooperatively sponsor a sport, school districts must be contiguous, meaning they share a border. But at times, neighboring districts aren’t willing or able to co-op, so schools want permission to look farther for a partner, if needed.

As a result, the co-op process could receive an overhaul in July at the PIAA board’s workshop meeting, executive director Bob Lombardi said. The rule is intended to increase participation in athletics, particularly in smaller schools.

“The board said they wanted to have a good review of the whole co-op rule itself,” Lombardi said, “and see if it’s meeting the spirit and the intent of today’s athletic programs and what’s happening in the field.”

“... We’re going to take a good hard look at (the rule), and see if there needs to be consideration for circumstances we’ve had such as this. Maybe, for lack of a better term, we’ll ‘modernize’ the language.”

In York County, for example, York Tech and York Country Day have had co-op teams in several sports.

At a recent District 3 meeting, a pair of co-ops involving York Tech were approved unanimously for the next two-year cycle: York Tech will host Christian School of York, York High and York Country Day in wrestling, and Tech will host Christian School of York, York Country Day and York Catholic in field hockey.