State lawmakers look to separate public and private school football

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — State lawmakers have unveiled a plan to separate public and private school sports playoffs.

It has the support of public and private schools across the Commonwealth but the PIAA still opposes it.

It’s been a contentious issue for years. Should private schools be able to compete in state playoff games with public schools? State representative Aaron Bernstine introduced legislation that could finally put the issue to rest.

“We’ve been working on this for nearly a year. Everybody has come together. Everybody has given and taken and this is a great compromise for every student across the commonwealth,” said Bernstine

House Bill 1600 would create a new playoff structure, governed by the PIAA
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Public and private schools would each compete separately, with a public school champion and private school champion.

“Then at the end, they’ll come together for a Superbowl and I think that’ll be a really exciting time,” said Bernstine

The bill has the support of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and the public school superintendent-led Pennsylvania Athletic Equity Steering Committee.

It isn’t just about playoffs, though.

“With the separation of playoffs, those private schools will start to play other schools that will have that same recruiting advantage,” William Hall said

In a statement, the PIAA says they were not a part of the development of this legislation and call it a disappointing effort.
 

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