Conklin issues statement on need to reform PIAA playoff system

HARRISBURG, May 1 – Following his Pennsylvania Capitol news conference yesterday with school sports officials and student athletes, state Rep. Scott Conklin issued these remarks to shed further light on why Pennsylvania’s approach to school sports competitions should be reformed to model other states that recognize the difference between national all-star teams in private schools (non-boundary schools) and the teams in public schools (boundary schools):   

“In Pennsylvania, private schools are not restricted as to where they can recruit student athletes, whereas public schools may only recruit within the school district’s geographical location.

“This allows private schools to create all-star teams that are providing an unfair advantage over public schools in playoffs. It’s not just about winning a championship. It’s about life opportunities – including scholarships and recruitment for college sports and professional sports – that our public school students are losing out on.

“K-12 sports should be about teaching values and competitiveness, giving children a second option that keeps them in school, and allowing opportunities for a brighter future.

“I am not against non-boundary schools. They provide many young athletes a chance for a better future, which is great. The change I am proposing would not reduce the opportunities for private school students, but would introduce fairness and level the playing field for playoffs while increasing opportunities for public students to have a brighter future in sports beyond high school.

“When the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association created the playoff system in the 1980s, they relied on the statutory authority granted in the 1972 and 1974 acts. I am offering House Bill 1983 because I know this statutory authority also allows for the change that is needed today. The PIAA just needs to act upon it.”


ATTN EDITORS/ASSIGNMENT DESKS: Video of the full news conference is available here:

Video of Rep. Conklin’s remarks is available here:

Photos from the news conference are available here: