State Rep. Conklin & high school personnel hope for playoff changes in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The PIAA high school playoffs can attract a crowd; however, sometimes they can be weighed down by private or charter (non-boundary) schools dominating local, public (boundary) schools.

“I know the word recruiting is not what people want to hear, but it’s the truth. So by doing so, they’re able to buy a championship, they’re able to do something that makes the scales uneven,” State Representative Scott Conklin (D-Centre) said.

Conklin is a proponent of House Bill 1983 which calls on the PIAA to establish separate playoffs and championships for athletics for boundary and non-boundary schools.

“Let’s think for the young kids that we have involved in our sports programs. Give them an opportunity to compete for a state championship on a level playing field,” Pennsylvania Hall of Fame Coach Jim Cantafio said.

“We come from a small school, not that many kids in our area. We’ve had to play these private schools all the time,” Bald Eagle High School athlete Carson Nagle said.

Nagle’s teams have matched up against private schools come playoff time.

Oversized golf balls are hidden across Central Pennsylvania; Here’s why

“As soon as we get into the districts, you see a private school on your schedule,” he said. “[For] states you see the private school in your schedule.”

The change would only be for the postseason. Boundary schools could still play non-boundary schools during the regular season.

“Take a look at college football, the way it’s set up. East Stroudsburg University, if they wanted to, they can play Penn State University in a football game,” Cantafio said. “Games over, end of the year comes, East Stroudsburg goes into Division II playoffs. Penn State goes in the Power Five playoffs.
It doesn’t affect them.”

Even though preparation is the same no matter the opponent. It still runs through the players and coaches minds.

“[It’s] the David and Goliath kind of deal,” Cantafio said. “On any given day, anybody can win a football game, but deep down inside, you know it’s going to take a major miracle for something like that to happen.”

Thanks for signing up!

Watch for us in your inbox.

Subscribe Now

abc27 Evening Newsletter

Maryland, New Jersey and other states have made the change. Legislation isn’t necessary to create dual playoff formats. The PIAA can make the change on its own.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to ABC27.