Conklin: It’s time to level the athletic playing field for public, private schools

STATE COLLEGE, March 9 – Hearing a number of concerns from many school districts statewide that the current high school sports playoff system is not fair, state Rep. Scott Conkin said he has reintroduced a measure to establish separate playoffs for public and private schools.

Conklin, D-Centre, said the current system’s rules, as required by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, which operates all state championship tournaments, provide an unfair advantage to private and parochial schools, which aren’t limited by the geographic boundaries public school districts are required to follow.

“That means that many of the private schools’ sports programs have become so large, both in the number and size of participants, and that’s not fair to our public schools,” said Conkin. “My bill would change a nearly 50-year-old law and remove a mandate that these private schools compete with public ones, and thereby allow for separate playoffs systems and championships. I believe my colleagues can work together on this effort and as a result, make our high school team sports safer, more competitive and fun for students again. Let me be very clear – my bill unties the hands of the PIAA to establish a system of their choice. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Conklin introduced a similar bill during the 2019-20 legislative session.