High school notebook: PIAA again tables ruling on mixed-gender teams

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For nearly a year, the PIAA has tried to craft a mixed-gender participation rule basically designed to limit boys playing on girls high school sports teams.

The PIAA Board of Directors was poised to vote on the rule Wednesday in Mechanicsburg, Pa., for a third and final time. It did not.

The measure was tabled in March for clarification, but it apparently wasn't clear enough. After approximately 20 minutes of discussion after the proposal came off the table, the board again found itself unclear about certain proposed changes in the language and tabled it once again.

"I'm just very uncomfortable having a vote when we're not certain about changes in the language," PIAA president and District 4 chairman Jim Zack said.

Zack's statement was echoed by several board members and the two PIAA attorneys who were present, Michael Solomon and Jeffrey Champagne. The board agreed to re-write a small portion of the proposal, send it electronically to board members and reconvene at PIAA headquarters June 19 to attempt a final vote.

The proposal stemmed from a complaint from two Fox Chapel attorneys, James and Mary Grenen, about boys playing on field hockey teams, which are traditionally all-girls teams. The Grenens cited health and safety factors and the potential for a competitive advantage enjoyed by a girls team that also has males.

Other PIAA news

■ The board approved the expansion of PIAA individual wrestling brackets from 16 wrestlers per weight class to 20, beginning with the upcoming school year. As a result, the WPIAL will advance its fourth-place finisher in each weight class directly to the PIAA tournament. The WPIAL previously advanced the top three. WPIAL Class AA wrestlers must qualify for the PIAA tournament through the Southwest Region tournament along with wrestlers from Districts 5 and 6. That region will advance six wrestlers to states, one more than it used to.

■ PIAA executive director Dr. Robert Lombardi said he is conducting ongoing discussions with Philadelphia-area charter schools after his April appearance before the General Assembly's Pennsylvania Athletic Oversight Committee. Lombardi told the PAOC that charter school athletes enjoyed advantages that no other public or private school athletes had, namely the ability to play one sport at a charter school and another at a home public school.Lombardi asked the legislature for some help, but was turned down. He said the charter schools seem willing to allow students to participate only in athletic programs sponsored by the charter school.

Saunders to Montour

Will Saunders is expected to be the new boys basketball coach at Montour, pending school board approval next week.Saunders has agreed to the job. He has been South Park's coach since 2007, and won WPIAL and PIAA titles at Shady Side Academy, where he coached from 1996-2004.

Fayette Hall of Fame

Seven individuals and two teams make up the sixth class for the Fayette County Sports Hall of Fame. The individuals are Connellsville's Hank Oppermann, Albert Gallatin's Buddy Quertinmont, German Township's Ralph Still, Laurel Highlands' Greg Beckwith and Uniontown's Pope Gregory. Coaches Ken Misiak (Geibel boys basketball) and Bill Power (Uniontown football) also will be inducted along with the 1962 Uniontown football team and the Frazier 1969 basketball team. The Hall of Fame banquet is June 21 at Penn State Fayette.

Mike White contributed to this report.

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