WPIAL to release new football conferences, updated sections for other fall sports

Monday, February 5, 2024 | 9:14 PM

The wait is almost over for WPIAL football teams eager to take a look at the new conferences for the 2024 and ’25 seasons.

The WPIAL will release realigned football conferences and updated sections for other fall sports after the board approves them Feb. 19, said WPIAL chief operating officer Vince Sortino.

Schedules will be released later.

Realignment is a process the WPIAL completes every two years. It starts in the fall of odd-numbered years when the PIAA collects updated enrollment numbers and splits the teams into evenly divided classifications. The WPIAL then takes those classification lists and asks its sport-specific steering committees to further divide the teams into conferences or sections.

The committees completed their work in recent days.

The WPIAL board can make last-minute changes to the recommended alignments, so, as usual, the league won’t reveal the new sections and conferences until they’re approved by the board at the February meeting, Sortino said.

“Once they hit our board, the board members could have questions about, ‘Why is this team going here?’” he said. “There have been changes to the committee recommendations in the past, and that’s part of the process.”

Fall sports in the WPIAL are cross country, field hockey, football, golf, soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball.

Sortino said the WPIAL has told schools they’re free to again schedule Week Zero football games. He declined to discuss other details of the new alignment, including the fate of a proposal submitted by Fox Chapel that would’ve merged the two largest football classifications into one.

However, the WPIAL is expected to keep Class 6A and 5A separate.

Sortino said fall schedules will be released sport by sport over a few weeks starting later this month. Football is last on the list and tentatively slotted for release in the second week of March. By spreading out the release dates for schedules, athletic directors can focus on adding nonsection opponents in one or two sports at a time, rather than juggle all at once, said Sortino, a former athletic director at Baldwin.

“That way, the ADs aren’t overwhelmed with trying to call each other to schedule soccer, football, tennis, all at the same time,” he said.

Realignment for winter and spring sports will occur later in the year.

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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