By Matthew DeGeorge
The Pennsylvania high school athletic edifice rests tenuously on 17 words cobbled together 46 years ago. The motivations behind those words are about to get a closer dissection.
Among the topics discussed at Wednesday’s Pennsylvania Athletic Oversight Committee (PAOC) meeting were the intentions behind Act 219 of 1972 and their crucial place in how the PIAA can address competitive imbalance in its ranks, specifically whether or not that effort would have to include the General Assembly. That issue took center stage at the hearing of the PAOC, a bicameral body of six legislators charge with monitoring scholastic athletics in the state, held at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
A growing contingent of public schools, led by the organizers of July’s Playoff Equity Summit, believe the only solution to the disproportionate number of championships won by private schools is to partition so-called “non-boundary” schools (i.e. private, parochial and charter schools) into separate postseason tournaments. The prevailing notion, espoused by administrators and legislators, is that doing so would require an act of the legislature, stemming from the 1972 act that granted private schools membership to the previously all-public PIAA.