WPIAL approves Leechburg's request to leave
Leechburg Area School District crossed the first hurdle in its quest to move its athletic programs from the WPIAL to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association's District 6.
The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League's Board of Control voted unanimously on Wednesday afternoon to allow the school district to make the switch, effective July 1, 2014.
The board also said if Leechburg Area changes its mind and seeks to return to the WPIAL, the board might not allow it.
District 6 must accept Leechburg Area as a member, and the PIAA board of directors must approve the move.
Last month, the Leechburg Area School Board voted, 8-0, to request the move, citing the increasing number of private and parochial schools that are joining the WPIAL.
Those schools have no boundaries to obtain students, unlike a public school district.
Changing some of Leechburg Area's conference opponents in the WPIAL's biennial alignment was another concern, according to school district officials.
Leechburg Area would become a member of the Heritage Athletic Conference, comprised of nine small schools mostly in Indiana and Cambria counties.
There are no private or parochial schools in the Heritage Conference.
The WPIAL, also known as PIAA District 7, counts as members the schools situated in nine southwestern Pennsylvania counties.
District 6 consists of schools from Indiana County eastward to Mifflin County.
The WPIAL board added one caveat: If Leechburg Area decides, after a period as a District 6 member, it wants to return to the WPIAL, the WPIAL board would consider bringing Leechburg back only if there are an odd number of teams.
Such a move would prevent open dates for schools that need to scramble to get an opponent for a given game.
“You just can't come and go as you please,” WPIAL Executive Director Tim O'Malley said at Wednesday's meeting.
O'Malley cited Farrell, a longtime athletic powerhouse that left the WPIAL in 2005 and joined PIAA District 10, which is comprised of schools in northwestern Pennsylvania. Farrell wanted to return to the WPIAL in 2010, but District 10 officials denied the move.
Leechburg's football team hasn't had a winning season since 1991, and the girls basketball team has lost 25 consecutive games.
Leechburg Area school officials also cited the Heritage Conference sponsoring competitive cheerleading and debate as another reason to move.
The Heritage Conference was formed in 1998.
Leechburg Area had turned down two previous invitations from the Heritage Conference and remained in the WPIAL.
In addition to football and girls basketball, Leechburg sponsors teams in golf, boys basketball, girls volleyball, baseball and softball.
George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Crews battling Oakmont church blaze
- Hulton Bridge closing now at 9 p.m.
- Plum woman dies in Washington Township crash
- Alligator spotted along the banks of the Allegheny River in Cheswick
- Fire ravages 2 buildings in downtown New Kensington
- Charges filed against man shot by police in Bell Township
- Scouts prepare goodie bags as show of support for A-K Valley police
- Police chase ends with shooting in Bell Township; suspect wounded
- Rayburn man, 74, dies in Manor Township crash
- Harmar to allow electrified security fencing
- Butler County American Legion Riders welcome back veteran