PIAA forcing 3 WPIAL basketball teams into higher classification, pending appeal

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 | 2:23 PM

Three WPIAL basketball teams will be forced to play in a higher classification next season unless those schools can win a PIAA appeal.

The Chartiers Valley girls, North Catholic girls and Lincoln Park boys are among 15 teams statewide that the PIAA marked for promotion under its competitive-balance rule. It was clear already that all three had accumulated six success points, but the PIAA also identified at least one potential transfer for each program in the past two seasons, the other half of the formula.

According to PIAA research, Lincoln Park had 11 potential transfers while North Catholic and Chartiers Valley each had one. Schools can contest those numbers.

The deadline to appeal is Friday.

Lincoln Park would move to Class 4A, North Catholic to 5A and Chartiers Valley to 6A.

Chartiers Valley athletic director Mike Gavlik said Tuesday he already filed an appeal.

“After reviewing the info provided by the PIAA, we are confident that Chartiers Valley does not have any girls basketball transfers,” Gavlik said. “We look forward to a favorable appeal.”

Likewise, North Catholic athletic director Brian Miller said his girls basketball program also had added no transfers. He’d already reached out to the PIAA to correct a student’s grade level listed on an eligibility report.

The PIAA counted transfers by comparing school-submitted eligibility lists from the 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. If a player appeared on the roster one year but not the year before, the PIAA marked that player as a transfer.

However, the PIAA acknowledges there could be another explanation. For example, if a student doesn’t play basketball as a sophomore but joins the team as a junior, that student would appear to the PIAA as a transfer.

“The school has the ability to explain the changes in the lists by providing source documentation, if the student was a student in the school or just came out for the team later or was a natural-break transfer,” PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said.

A school’s first appeal is to the PIAA executive committee. If that request is denied, the schools can appeal to the PIAA board of directors. The appeal process is limited to whether a student is or is not a transfer, not the validity of the rule itself, Lombardi said.

Lincoln Park boys basketball coach/athletic director Mike Bariski filed an appeal Tuesday. Bariski said last month that the PIAA shouldn’t enforce the competitive-balance rule since the state basketball tournaments were cut short by the covid-19 outbreak. That cancellation kept other teams from being promoted, he said, so the rule should be ignored entirely as the PIAA sorts teams into classifications for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.

“Appeal of the rule is not part of the appeal,” Lombardi said.

Along with the three WPIAL teams, 12 others from across the state also accumulated six success points and at least one potential transfer, according to the PIAA.

The boys teams at risk for promotion are Archbishop Wood (11 transfers), Imhotep Charter (six), Bonner-Prendergast (seven), Camp Hill Trinity (12), Math, Civics and Sciences Charter (11), Bishop Guilfoyle (14) and Sankofa Freedom Academy (15). The additional girls teams on the PIAA list are Archbishop Carroll (four), Bethehem Catholic (eight), Dunmore (two), Delone Catholic (three) and Bellwood Antis (one).

Of the 15 schools, six are from District 12, which includes Philadelphia Catholic League and public school teams.

The competitive-balance rule was enacted by the PIAA board two years ago, in part to quiet calls from public school administrators demanding a separate postseason tournament for private schools. Next school year — 2020-21 — will be the first time teams are forced to move up.

The rule impacts only football and basketball.

The PIAA formula awards four success points to teams that reach the state finals, three to semifinalists, two to quarterfinalists or one for making the first round.

Points are counted over two seasons. The PIAA then examines the rosters of teams that collected six or more points to see whether they also added any transfers. Teams must have both too many points and transfers to move up.

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

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