The new leader of the PIAA met with the WPIAL Board of Control today to discuss the student-athlete transfer rule and the differences of opinion that exist between the two organizations on the rule.
Bob Lombardi, appointed PIAA executive director this summer, came to Pittsburgh with PIAA president Jim Zack and PIAA legal counsel Alan Boynton and met with the WPIAL Board of Control at WPIAL offices in Green Tree. The topic of discussion was student athletes who transfer schools for athletic intent.
In the past four years, 38 student-athletes have appealed their cases to the PIAA after being ruled ineligible by the WPIAL for transferring for athletic intent. The PIAA has overturned the WPIAL 30 times, including six already this school year.
That means the PIAA has upheld a WPIAL ruling only 21 percent of the time in the past four years, and only once this school year.
"I thought it was a great meeting," Lombardi said. "We had a good exchange of ideas and thoughts, not only on the philosophy of the [transfer] rule, but the implication of the rule and possible future conversations about whether we need to tweak the rule and is it working the way it should?"
Maybe it wouldn't be fair to say a rift exists between the two organizations because of the PIAA overturning the WPIAL in so many cases. But there is most certainly a differing of opinion on how the transfer rule should be enforced.
The WPIAL has contended for awhile that the PIAA transfer rule needs to be changed.
"At the meeting, I think the consenus opinion was that the [transfer] rule needs to be continued to be looked at and potentially revised," said WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley. "We believe the rule right now is too subjective. The positive thing was that there was some give and take on both sides at the meeting. They heard the concerns we had and the hope is that maybe this will lead to some consideration of a revision of the rule in the future. For a long period of time, we've advocated change."