Lincoln Park wants PIAA to define ‘participation’ in competitive-balance rule

Monday, May 11, 2020 | 8:53 PM

Lincoln Park athletic director Mike Bariski is curious about the PIAA’s definition of the word “participation.”

Under the PIAA competitive-balance rule, Bariski’s boys basketball team was awarded two success points for participation in this year’s state quarterfinals, exactly enough to force the Leopards into a higher classification next season.

Bariski agrees that Lincoln Park qualified for the quarterfinal round — the team won its second-round game — but he argues that the Leopards certainly didn’t “participate” in the quarterfinals.

In fact, nobody did.

The covid-19 outbreak forced the PIAA to cancel the state basketball tournament before the second round had finished. Yet, the PIAA awarded two success points to all teams that qualified for the quarterfinals, even though the PIAA website uses the word “participation.”

“Theoretically, all we have is five points,” Bariski said, “because we never participated in a (quarterfinal) game.”

Bariski said he tried to make that argument in a written appeal to the PIAA executive staff, but that request was denied Monday. His next option is an appeal to the entire PIAA board of directors, which meets later this month.

“I’m very interested to hear what those folks will say,” Bariski said.

The Chartiers Valley and North Catholic girls won their appeals Monday, so neither will be forced into a higher classification. The two schools successfully showed that they added no transfers in the past two years, which is the other half of the competitive-balance formula.

The PIAA intends to move Lincoln Park to Class 4A next season.

Bariski said he’s not opposed to playing in a higher classification but insisted that the PIAA competitive-balance rule should be ignored this year since the basketball tournaments were cut short. Fifteen teams statewide were initially targeted for promotion but others could’ve joined them if the tournaments had continued, Bariski said.

The competitive-balance rule impacts teams that accumulate at least six “success points” in the PIAA playoffs and add at least one transfer in a two-year span.

The PIAA website says: “All schools will have their success in post-regular season rated by the following scale.”

1 point for participation in an entry level inter-district championship contest.

2 points for participation in a quarter-final inter-district contest.

3 points for participation in a semi-final inter-district contest.

4 points … for participation in a final inter-district contest.

During this appeals process, the PIAA said schools cannot contest the rule.

“I didn’t oppose the rule,” Bariski said. “I opposed the implementation of the rule.”

If the PIAA decided to award only one point to teams that reached the quarterfinals, as Bariski argues, no teams would accumulate six success points and nobody would be promoted this year under the rule.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at or via Twitter .


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