Some Pittsburgh City League teams likely will be competing in the WPIAL next year, but not in football or basketball.
The City League applied for associate membership to the WPIAL for four schools in some sports. But the City League will remain intact and not join the WPIAL for football, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls volleyball, boys and girls track and field and wrestling.
The WPIAL Board of Control will meet Monday to decide whether to accept the City League teams, but the vote seems to be simply a formality.
"We have the request from Pittsburgh Public Schools to be included as an associate member," WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley said. "All I can say is the board will render a decision Monday."
Under the proposal, there will no longer be a City League champion in a handful of sports, including soccer. Allderdice will join the WPIAL in 11 sports -- baseball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls swimming, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls cross country, golf and softball.
Brashear and Carrick will join the WPIAL in baseball, boys and girls soccer and softball.
Obama Academy will join the WPIAL in boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls swimming.
One of the main reasons the City League is deciding to join the WPIAL for some sports is because two high schools will close at the end of the school year -- Langley and Oliver. Langley students will go to Brashear and Oliver students to Perry.
The closing of Oliver and Langley leaves only six schools in the City League for the 2012-13 school year -- Allderdice, Brashear, Carrick, Obama, Perry and Westinghouse.
The City League set up an athletic reform committee a year ago to examine the possibility of joining the WPIAL. City League athletic director Mike Gavlik said the current proposal takes into consideration some things the athletic committee proposed.
"I submitted some things to the central office, and as things got tweaked this [proposal] is what we currently have for joining the WPIAL," Gavlik said. "We had a recommendation from the athletic committee to move into the WPIAL in all sports. But that's not what we considered our best option currently.
"In two years, we will reassess things, based on our school setups and how the Pittsburgh Public Schools look at that time."
When Gavlik was asked why the City League didn't want to join the WPIAL in all sports, he said, "In those sports where we still had a solid six schools still in place, this allows us to still have championships and state qualifiers [from the City League] for those sports. For those sports that are still remaining [in the City League], there is still enough competitive balance that we didn't feel we had to go out and participate in the WPIAL."
Student participation is low for some sports at some City League schools. Gavlik said City League schools can still have "independent" teams in sports that are not in the WPIAL. Those independent teams will schedule games on their own.
But the six City League teams in football will have to schedule three or possibly four games against teams outside the City.
Facilities are a concern for some City League schools. Gavlik said he is hopeful all City League teams that play WPIAL soccer will play their home games at Cupples Stadium on the South Side or Schenley Park Oval. Both fields have artificial turf.
"There are logistics that have to be worked out, but by making this move in December, at least we've given ourselves some time now to figure things out," Gavlik said.
When asked if City League teams will be able to be competitive with WPIAL teams in some sports, Gavlik said, "I'm hoping because they'll be in their true classifications [based on school enrollment] that they'll be able to compete."
In the past, some football and basketball coaches in the City League expressed a desire to join the WPIAL.
"I'm sure if you ask seven coaches, you might get seven different answers," Gavlik said. "From my perspective and things I've heard in the past, this seems to be a consensus of how to do it.
"We are looking at this as a positive opportunity for our schools. Some of our teams have gone out and played as many WPIAL teams as possible in the past. ... I think it can be a positive if everyone continues to move forward with proper training and proper coaching. I think it can be a success story."