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A league of their own

| Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

I'm writing this letter on the eve of the Burrell girls basketball game vs. Seton LaSalle in the PIAA semifinals. That's because I don't want this letter to sound like sour grapes after the Lady Bucs have lost.

The PIAA needs to stop private schools with no geographic borders from dominating the sport of basketball in Pennsylvania. It is not a fair playing field.

It's no coincidence that three Seton LaSalle starters play on the same AAU basketball team all summer and go to the same private school. It happens at a school without borders.

How much do privates dominate basketball? Just check who is playing for PIAA titles tomorrow and Saturday.

Some people say teams without borders should play in the highest classification. I say we go “back to the future.” Years ago, private schools had a separate league, but the PIAA absorbed them after many closed. Now, there's abundance of charter schools, which draw from a region. The charters and private schools could easily combine to establish a league.

If the PIAA does not want to do this, the public districts need to get a spine and secede from the PIAA and form the PPSIA, the Pennsylvania Public School Interscholastic Association. Then borders — and playing for your hometown — will have their proper meaning again. Even at the high school level money talks and when you see a private school play a public school, there is much more support for the public school team. It's time to put the PIAA's feet to the fire or get out.

And congratulations to the Burrell players and coaches — the best public school girls basketball team in Pennsylvania.

Mike Choma

Brackenridge

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