Pa. league to listen more closely to AD complaints about private, Catholic, charter schools

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (TNS)

The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League will listen more to a group of athletic directors who do not want their sports teams to play regular-season contests against private, Catholic and charter schools.

The WPIAL board of directors met Monday and board member John Grogan, athletic director at Mt. Lebanon, told the board that he will form a committee from the WPIAL athletic directors association that will meet with more than three dozen ADs from the WPIAL who want the public vs. private-Catholic-charter school issue addressed.

In late January, 44 athletic directors from Class 1-A, 2-A and 3-A schools got together on Zoom to discuss the matter and how they were going to approach the WPIAL, asking the league not to schedule their sports teams to play any Catholic, private and charter schools in the future. A number of those same ADs sent a letter to WPIAL executive director Amy Scheuneman asking that their concerns be heard.

The athletic directors' complaint is that public schools are at a disadvantage in athletics because they can only draw students with their district's geographical boundaries, while private-Catholic-charter schools have no geographic boundaries to draw student-athletes. The athletic directors also made charges of recruiting by non-boundary schools, which is against WPIAL and PIAA rules.

Grogan, who represents the athletic directors on the WPIAL board, met with some of the ADs during a WPIAL executive committee meeting a few weeks ago and reported his findings back to the WPIAL board Monday. That's also when the WPIAL board gave Grogan its blessing to form a committee to look at the issue in the future.

"Obviously, there are some people on the executive committee who are passionate about this subject," Grogan said. "We want to make sure we put together a well-rounded committee of people that has representatives from non-boundary schools, as well.

"Our idea is to bring everyone together and discuss how we can maybe make things better. I don't know where this is going to go. But I represent that (athletic directors) group on the WPIAL board and there are certainly a good number of members who have concerns. We want to make sure we hear them and try and work toward a solution."

Added Scheuneman: "The purpose (of the committee being formed) is so there can be a consensus on what these athletic directors are requesting and what options they might be asking the board to consider. There can't be a blanket statement that just says we need this to be addressed."