BY JEFF FALK
What it will mean in theory is more opportunities, more teams qualifying for the postseason, more playoff games and more championships. What it will mean in practice for Lebanon County schools remains to be seen.
On Wednesday during its regular meeting in Mechanicsburg, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association voted by a 26-4 margin to expand its caste system for football based on enrollment, from four classifications to six. The PIAA also voted, by a 23-7 margin, to expand its classifications for boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball, baseball and softball from four to six.
The move will take effect for the 2016-17 school year.
The vote ended years of speculation and months of debate on the issue. Most of the dissension in the vote came from western Pennsylvania schools.
In addition, the PIAA expanded its classifications in boys’ soccer, girls’ soccer and girls’ volleyball from three to four classifications, while field hockey moved from two classifications to three classifications and boys’ lacrosse and girls’ lacrosse from one to two.
The PIAA has had four classifications in football since 1998. There are currently 576-football playing schools in the state of Pennsylvania, meaning each classification will now include about 96 members.
The move will also decrease the football season to 15 weeks.
According to projected enrollments, Cedar Crest would become a six-A school in football, while Lebanon High would be a 5-A school in the sport. Palmyra, Elco and Northern Lebanon would become four-A schools in football, and Annville-Cleona would be AAA on the gridiron.