Much work is left for City League's move to WPIAL

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The Pittsburgh City League is moving forward with plans to join the WPIAL.

Within the next few weeks, a 22-member athletics overhaul committee for Pittsburgh Public Schools is expected to forward a proposal to new superintendent Linda Lane that calls for the City League to join the WPIAL for the 2012-13 school year.

Dr. Lane and an executive cabinet will review the plan, then forward a proposal to the Pittsburgh Board of Education for a vote.

The overhaul committee's proposal is different than one originally drafted in the fall. Under the new proposal, all City League schools will join the WPIAL by themselves, and there will be no combining of sports teams from different schools, except for the one cooperative sponsorship that would put students from Obama, University Prep and Pittsburgh Science and Technology together on one team.

Under an earlier plan to join the WPIAL, Perry and Oliver would have combined sports teams, as well as Brashear and Langley. But that plan has been discarded.

Another major part of the new proposal is for each City League high school to hire a full-time athletic director, just like WPIAL schools. The City League athletic directors would be in charge of sports at their high school and some feeder schools.

Currently, City League high schools only have a faculty manager for athletics. But it is not a full-time job.

Mike Gavlik, athletic director for the City League and a member of the overhaul committee, said no dates have been set for votes on the proposal.

"The new superintendent is in a transition phase," Gavlik said. "A proposal made to the school board has to go through the administrative process first. ... The superintendent and the executive cabinet could make some tweaks or revisions."

The athletics overhaul committee, headed by Jake House, includes coaches, school athletic managers, school board members and school administrators.

It was established last year to examine eight areas of City League athletics: coaching, facilities and equipment, participation (female and overall), transportation, scheduling, sportsmanship, connection to academics and wellness.

In the fall, the committee conducted three public meetings for people to give suggestions and opinions on whether the City League should disband and join the WPIAL.

"From what I could gather, the sentiment was that there was not a huge push to not join the WPIAL," Gavlik said. "But will we be able to accomplish things like facility upgrades, giving more support to coaches, etc.? Those things are necessary to make such a move.

"We also had a study done that reviewed all areas of facility improvement and need. That will also be part of the recommendation [to the superintendent]."

The City League has nine high schools for sports, but will drop to eight for the 2011-12 school year when Peabody closes.

Schenley also is closing after this school year, and its students will be part of Obama, which will eventually be at the Peabody High School building in East Liberty. Obama will combine with University Prep in the Hill District and Pittsburgh Science and Technology in Oakland for sports teams.

"Because there were eight different areas that we were reviewing, and there are recommendations in all eight of those areas, there are a lot of logistics that have to be worked out behind those recommendations," Gavlik said.

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