MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – Three District 9 and District 10 football schools have been told they will need to move up or stay where they are for the next playing cycle because of the PIAA’s Competition Formula, but all three are appealing the ruling.
Redbank Valley, the PIAA Class 1A runner-up, Farrell (Class 2A semifinalist in 2021), and Cathedral Prep (Class 5A quarterfinalist in 2021), have all been told they will be moving up one classification (Redbank Valley to 2A and Cathedral Prep to 6A) for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years (2022 and 2023 seasons). Meanwhile, Farrell, which was moved up to 2A because of the Competition Formula in a previous reclassification cycle, has been informed it accumulated enough points to remain at 2A despite having a Class 1A enrollment.
All three schools have indicated they are appealing the PIAA’s decision, something that can be done through Friday, Jan. 7, according to Jennifer Grassel, Assistant Executive Director for the PIAA.
“The appeals process is still going,” Grassel said in an e-mail to D9and10Sports. “Schools were notified the week of Dec. 20 and they have until this Friday (Jan. 7) to submit appeals to our office. We will then review them and give them a decision by the end of next week. Depending on the decision they can then appeal to the Board of Directors.”
The Competition Formula comprises three factors – enrollment classification, success factor, and athletic transfers.
According to the PIAA, once a program’s classification is determined by size, each cycle, teams are measured by “success points” which are based on how far a team goes in the playoffs. Teams receive one point for reaching their district championship, two points for playing in a state quarterfinal, three points for playing in a state semifinal, and four points for reaching the state championship.
If a team has six points over a two-year span, it is under consideration to move up a classification. Six or more points plus three or more athletic transfers result in a move up in classification.
At least one of those schools, Redbank Valley, is appealing because it believes the PIAA has made an error in the number of transfers into the program.
“We were informed (in December) that due to the success points accumulated and the PIAA identifying us as having 10 transfers over the last two years, we were being moved to 2A,” said Redbank Valley coach Blane Gold. “When we were given the list of the 10 transfers, nine of the 10 transfers have attended our district since their elementary years.
“Mr. (Roddy) Hartle (Athletic Director and principal at Redbank Valley) has submitted our appeal to the PIAA. Included in that appeal was a transcript of each of the nine students who have been enrolled at Redbank Valley since kindergarten.”
Farrell, which was forced to play up to 2A last cycle, as well as Prep, both plan to appeal as well, per Athletic Directors Amp Pegues (Farrell) and Bill Flanagan (Prep).
Grassel said the PIAA identifies what it believes are “potential transfers” by looking at the eligibility lists turned in each year by the schools.
“We look at the eligibility lists from 2019 to 2020 and see if there are any changes/new names that are 10th graders and above,” Grassel said. “If there are changes, we identify them as ‘potential transfers’. We do the same from 2020 to 2021 and identify any changes/new names.
“Unfortunately, we do not have information on each individual student as to when they started school within their school district.”
Because the PIAA is lacking information on when a student started at a school, that is why those athletes are identified as potential transfers rather than transfers.
According to Grassel, schools are then given the opportunity to provide information to the PIAA that the athlete had been in the school.
“The students that are identified are not considered transfers but ‘potential transfers’ which the school can review and provide documentation proving that they are not transfers,” Grassel said.
Grassel said the PIAA understands that students may decide to not play one year but play the next – Bryson Bain at Redbank Valley is an example of this as he did not play football until his senior season – but because of not having a complete set of information it automatically considers those athletes as “potential” transfers until otherwise provided information to the contrary by the school.
“We do take into consideration that kids may decide not to play one year but play the next year but unfortunately do not have that information until the school provides it to us,” Grassel said. “This process can lend itself to some students being identified that may not be transfers, but we only have limited data to review until the schools can provide us with additional information.”
NON-COMPETITIVE BALANCE CHANGES IN DISTRICT 10
In District 10, there are some major changes, as Conneaut, Franklin, General McLane, Harbor Creek, Oil City, and Warren all moved down to Class 3A from Class 4A with Corry and Meadville the only teams remaining in Class 4A. The total number of Class 3A teams in D10 is now at 15.
Class 1A saw just one change with Lakeview dropping down from Class 2A.
BROCKWAY ONLY TEAM ON THE MOVE IN DISTRICT 9
In District 9, only one team is moving classification pending the outcome of Redbank Valley’s appeal, as Brockway goes from Class 2A to Class 1A.
Schools had until Wednesday, Jan. 5, to voluntarily move up in classification. Schools can not move down in classification on a voluntary basis.
The full list of football classifications for the next two years (not including voluntary moves) can be found here.