The nature of high school sports in Pennsylvania will change in the 2016-17 school year. At a meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 6 the PIAA board voted 26-4 to increase the number of football classifications from four to six.
Traditionally, high schools sports have been divided into two to four size rankings (A, AA, AAA, AAAA) based on the student population of freshmen through juniors. Male and female populations are counted separately.
With this change, there will now be six classifications (A-AAAAAA) in the PIAA for not only football, but baseball, softball, and boys/girls basketball.
According to other news sources, the three members of the PIAA board representing District 7, also known as the WPIAL, all voted no. From the PIAA website, the WPIAL has 121 of the PIAA’s 522 schools, making it the largest district in Pennsylvania. Lincoln sports are currently in AA or AAA.
According to information Kirk Lape, Principal of Lincoln High School, received from the PIAA, schools must submit enrollment information by Oct. 15 to the PIAA. Sometime in November, the PIAA will assign classifications.
It is unknown what classification Lincoln and other schools in the area will receive. However, Lape said that as many neighboring schools, such as Riverside, Union, Laurel, Mohawk and Shenango, all have lower enrollment, it is possible the Ellwood section and sport’s schedule will change drastically.
The WPIAL is responsible for creating sections. Lape said an additional option is to create cross-sections of AA/AAA schools for transportation convenience.
Lape said it is possible that the change will create additional travel time for schools, eliminate school rivalry games, and result in students being dismissed from school earlier.
However, definitive information will have to wait until the PIAA assigns classifications and the WPIAL creates sections.