The idea of six classifications for high school football in Pennsylvania will once again be put on the table for consideration.
The PIAA Board of Directors have their annual summer meeting tomorrow. They will discuss and vote on a number of topics. One of the topics that could possibly come to a vote is the establishment of six classifications for football only.
The idea has been kicked around plenty in the past six months and proposals have been made. At its May meeting, the PIAA gave representatives of every district six proposals to consider. A vote on a proposal could come about tomorrow. But even if it passes, the proposal would still have to pass two more votes at future meetings to go into effect for the 2016-17 season.
It seems the proposals that have the most support are the "Super 700" and "Super 800." Under the "Super 700," schools with more than 700 boys in the top three grades would be placed in 6A, and the other five classifications would be divided equally with the remaining schools. Under the "Super 800" proposal, schools with more than 800 boys in the top three grades would be placed in 6A, and the other five classifications would be divided equally with the remaining schools.
Some schools in the eastern part of the state favor the proposals because some districts have a number of large schools. Currently, in Class AAAA, some teams are playing against teams from schools twice their size. The PIAA also says that going to six classes will allow the league to shorten the season by a week. This season, the PIAA title games are not until a week before Christmas. It says here that it's ridiculous to still be playing high school football a week before Christmas.
The WPIAL has gone on record saying it is against six classifications. For starters, the league wonders why six classes for football only, and not other sports that currently have four classes? Also, six classifications would put a kink in the WPIAL football playoffs and their concept of playing all championships in one day at Heinz Field.
No matter if the "Super 700" or "Super 800" would pass, the WPIAL would have only three schools in 6A - Seneca Valley, North Allegheny and Butler. What would the WPIAL do for playoffs with only three schools? But there is an idea that the three 6A schools would play a regular-season schedule in 5A and then break out for their own tournament. McDowell, a 6A located in Erie, could join the WPIAL in football only. That would give the league four teams for a mini 6A tournament.
If you're wondering what WPIAL football would look like if, say, the Super 700 passes, look below. Keep in mind that the PIAA realigns classifications in all sports every two years. These classes are based on enrollment figures from the most-recent realignment, which is good from 2014-16. New enrollment figures are due to the PIAA this fall and those figures will be used to determine classifications for 2016-18.
This is for the "Super 700" proposal. The "Super 800" proposal would change things a little (schools are listed in the order of their enrollment size):
6A (3 schools)
Seneca Valley, North Allegheny, Butler
5A (25 schools)
Hempfield, Norwin, Penn Hills, Central Catholic, Connellsville, Mt. Lebanon, Canon-McMillan, Shaler, Bethel Park, Pine-Richland, Woodland Hills, North Hills, Peters Township, Upper St. Clair, Fox Chapel, Penn-Trafford, Baldwin, Latrobe, Kiski Area, Plum, McKeesport, Moon, Albert Gallatin, Gateway, Franklin Regional.
AAAA (18 schools)
Chartiers Valley, Hampton, Knoch, Mars, Trinity, West Allegheny, Laurel Highlands, Montour, New Castle, Ringgold, Belle Vernon, Thomas Jefferson, West Mifflin, Uniontown, Ambridge, Greensburg Salem, Blackhawk, Indiana.
AAA (25 schools)
Hopewell, Central Valley, Elizabeth Forward, Yough, Quaker Valley, Deer Lakes, South Fayette, Highlands, Derry, Mount Pleasant, Freeport, McGuffey, Ellwood City, Kittanning, Valley, South Park, Beaver, Southmoreland, Keystone Oaks, West Shamokin, Burrell, Steel Valley, Brownsville, Waynesburg, Mohawk.
AA (25 schools)
Ford City, East Allegheny, Shady Side Academy, Charleroi, Vincentian, South Allegheny, Summit Academy, Washington, Apollo-Ridge, New Brighton, Beaver Falls, Laurel, Burgettstown, Sto-Rox, Freedom, Seton-LaSalle, Carlynton, Avonworth, Riverside, Northgate, Beth-Center, South Side Beaver, Neshannock, Fort Cherry, Wilkinsburg.
A (26 schools)
Frazier, Shenango, Chartiers-Houston, Bentworth, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Aliquippa, Brentwood, Bishop Canevin, Carmichaels, Jeannette, Riverview, Serra, California, Leechburg, Springdale, Jefferson-Morgan, West Greene, Greensburg Central Catholic, Rochester, Clairton, Western Beaver, Monessen, Union, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, Mapletown, Avella.