PIAA football realignment: What classification will teams call home in 2020, 2021?

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Thursday, November 7, 2019 | 2:52 PM


PIAA football teams learned Thursday which classification they’ll call home next season.

Among those switching classes are defending WPIAL champions Pine-Richland and South Fayette, who both appear headed to Class 5A, while Baldwin will jump to the largest classification, according to information released by the PIAA.

Updated class parameters — the top and bottom enrollment number for each classification — were revealed Thursday, part of a realignment process that the PIAA undertakes every two years to group together like-sized schools.

The PIAA released updated parameters for all team sports.

In 2020 and ’21, the largest football classification will include schools with male enrollments greater than 582 in grades 9-11. According to unofficial enrollment numbers posted and later removed from the PIAA website last month, Pine-Richland has 571 boys (down from 631 in 2017-18) and Baldwin has 586 (up from 530).

Official enrollment numbers won’t be announced until the PIAA board meets in December, and the numbers posted last month could change slightly, PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said.

“I don’t think they were 100% accurate,” said Lombardi, adding that the numbers were posted inadvertently. “Some was dirty data because they didn’t have the 10% (for home-school and cyber-school students) added in, but a lot of them were probably accurate. Unfortunately, it was a glitch in our system.”

However, the class parameters posted Thursday are official.

For the next two seasons, Class A football includes teams with fewer than 130 boys, Class 2A has 130-196, Class 3A has 196-274, Class 4A has 275-398, Class 5A has 399-582 and Class 6A is for teams above 582.

Schools have until Dec. 4 to decide whether to “play up” in a higher classification.

There are a number of notable moves when comparing the unofficial PIAA enrollment numbers from last month with the new parameters issued Thursday.

Defending WPIAL Class 4A champion South Fayette (440) will move to Class 5A, joining Class 6A champion Pine-Richland in a classification that’s already deep.

Uniontown (303), which owns the WPIAL’s longest active losing streak, moves up to Class 4A.

Valley (209), East Allegheny (206), Avonworth (205), South Allegheny (204) and Brownsville (203) would jump from Class 2A to 3A.

Plum (395), Armstrong (391), Chartiers Valley (386), Albert Gallatin (382), Mars (355) and Hampton (350) are all in position to move down to 4A, but that could change if the enrollment numbers are adjusted. Plum is only four boys below the 5A cutoff and Armstrong is eight under.

Similarly, the unofficial numbers for Blackhawk (272) and Ambridge (254) tentatively drop them to Class 3A.

Beaver Falls (186) and Sto-Rox (130) would move to Class 2A.

Once the PIAA finalizes the classifications, the WPIAL will divide teams into new conferences and sections.

Unofficial PIAA enrollment numbers

NOTE: The PIAA posted updated enrollment numbers on its website last month before removing them. Here are those tentative numbers. Official numbers won’t be released until the PIAA board meeting in December.

Class 6A (583 and above)

North Allegheny 1,063

Seneca Valley 882

Butler 797

Canon-McMillan 695

Hempfield 686

Mt. Lebanon 651

Norwin 620

Central Catholic 617

Baldwin 586

Class 5A (582-399)

Pine-Richland 571

Upper St. Clair 537

Peters Township 523

Fox Chapel 522

Bethel Park 518

Penn-Trafford 517

Latrobe 499

North Hills 497

Connellsville 494

Shaler 487

Kiski Area 454

Moon 441

South Fayette 440

Franklin Regional 430

Gateway 430

Penn Hills 421

Woodland Hills 413

West Allegheny 407

Class 4A (275-398)

Plum 395

Armstrong 391

Trinity 390

Chartiers Valley 386

Albert Gallatin* 382

Mars 355

McKeesport 353

Hampton 350

Thomas Jefferson 347

Indiana 344

Laurel Highlands 335

Ringgold 320

New Castle 319

Highlands 313

West Mifflin 310

Greensburg Salem 305

Belle Vernon 304

Uniontown 303

Beaver 303

Montour 297

Knoch 283

Class 3A (196-274)

Freeport 273

Blackhawk 272

Central Valley 271

Elizabeth Forward 265

Ambridge 254

Quaker Valley 252

North Catholic 247

Burrell 241

Yough 234

Deer Lakes 230

South Park 219

Southmoreland 215

Derry214

Hopewell 214

Keystone Oaks 213

Mt. Pleasant 211

Valley 209

East Allegheny 206

Avonworth 205

South Allegheny 204

Brownsville 203

Class 2A (130-195)

McGuffey 190

Beaver Falls 186

Freedom 181

Charleroi 180

Mohawk 178

Ellwood City 172

New Brighton 170

Steel Valley 169

Waynesburg 169

Shady Side Academy 166

Neshannock 162

Riverside 161

Apollo-Ridge 158

Washington 157

Summit Academy 153

Beth-Center 147

Seton LaSalle 147

Brentwood 145

Laurel 142

Frazier 140

Carlynton 139

South Side 136

Chartiers-Houston 135

Sto-Rox 130

Class A (1-129)

Shenango 126

Northgate 120

Serra Catholic 119

Aliquippa 117

Carmichaels 114

Jeannette 113

Burgettstown113

Fort Cherry 111

Bentworth 109

California109

Springdale 107

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart 101

Greensburg Central Catholic 96

Monessen 94

Riverview 94

Jefferson-Morgan 93

Clairton 87

Union 81

West Greene 79

Western Beaver 77

Rochester 72

Leechburg 71

Bishop Canevin 68

Avella 67

Mapletown 64

Cornell 60

Vincentian Academy* 45

Imani Christian 32

*Team didn’t play WPIAL football in 2019

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

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