District 11 chairman Hartman: Transfer rule having an impact
With the calendar flipping from September to October, it will soon be separation season in PIAA athletics.
Once the district and state playoffs arrive, the public demand for separating public schools from private and charter schools for the purpose of determining state champs intensifies.
There has been little news about the bill introduced in the state legislature in June that called for separate state tournaments.
In the eyes of many, the bill had two major flaws — charter schools would still be considered public schools in terms of state tournaments, and the PIAA’s relatively new transfer rule would be eliminated.
The PIAA opposed the legislative bill immediately, saying in a statement: “The elimination of the transfer rule would expose Pennsylvania athletes and schools to the chaos that has resulted in those states which have done so. … AAU teams, shoe companies and other third parties promote consolidation of top athletes at ‘preferred’ schools, which result in powerhouses where schools simply reload each year with high profile athletes.”
The PIAA tightened the transfer rule prior to the 2018-19 school year and District 11 chairman and Whitehall High athletic director Bob Hartman said it has had an impact.
He’s talking about the rule that prohibits students who transfer to another school after their sophomore season from participating in the postseason.
“The rule is deterring transfers at some level,” Hartman said. “With District 11, we’ve had a large number of transfers where they’re not even contesting that part of the rule. Perhaps they know they don’t have a great chance of winning, so why go through it? The rule is very strict on the postseason waiver. We have had some hearings and we’ve turned some down and accepted some.”
As for the impact of the competition classification formula, more data is needed. In short, the formula takes into account the success of a program and the number of transfers that program received. A team that wins with a high number of transfers may be forced to move in class.
“All the data won’t be completed until the football season ends,” Hartman said. “We’re also starting a new classification cycle where new enrollment numbers will be counted effective Oct. 1. Some schools will be changing classes naturally, but others may be changing based on high number of transfers as well as high level of success.”
Hartman said it is likely that some kids will be affected in the upcoming postseason.
“There may be some kids we aren’t even aware of because they have even applied for the waiver,” Hartman said. “There may be some schools that are saying we know those kids are going to be out and won’t apply for the waiver.”
Hartman said a record is kept of every student-athlete who would need to get a waiver in order to play in the postseason.
“Regardless of whether the student-athlete is eligible for the regular season or not, if a school receiving a transfer wants that student-athlete to play in the postseason the school has to go to the PIAA website and the transfer portal and attach as much documentation as possible,” Hartman said. “If a school sends along court documentation, that’s easy. If a school sends along just a letter from a parent, that’s not approvable.”
Hartman added: “Our executive committee can grant a waiver without holding a hearing if enough information has been provided that fits the rule.”
Hartman said he has received phone calls from parents who ask him “What if?”
“I’ve told some of them that their child would be out for the postseason and then they never transfer,” Hartman said. “Some, I don’t know how many, kids have been deterred from transferring, but we’ve definitely deterred some. We want a rule that’s helping, and it’s helping. It’s not the be-all and end-all because kids are still transferring.”
Hartman said the idea is to deter transferring for the wrong reasons, not the transfers that come out of necessity.
”Transferring is never going to stop, but we’re doing something that’s good,” Hartman said.
He noted another rule that could prevent hassles. If you’ve already completed at least half of your season at one school — and all fall sports are already at that point — you can’t play at your new school if you transfer.
“Any transfer that happens now, that student-athlete is done for the rest of the season at his new school — regular season or postseason,” Hartman said. “So, we’ve addressed the situation that happened with ConwellEgan in the football playoffs two years ago.”
Nickles worth a lot
University of Delaware sophomore linebacker Drew Nickles had the best game of his career Saturday against the University of Pittsburgh before over 40,000 at Heinz Field.
The Palisades High graduate had a career-high 12 tackles, forced a fumble and had a fumble recovery for Delaware in a 17-14 defeat to the Palisades.
His effort led to him being honored as the Colonial Athletic Association defensive player of the week.
“Drew’s done a good job for us and is one of those guys that continues to get better every week,” Delaware coach Danny Rocco said. “He’s a critical part to us playing in that middle of the defense and I thought he had one of his better performances this past week. We’re excited to watch him improve as the year goes on.”
Utica has hope
Hope Millets, a freshman from Whitehall, is already getting a lot of playing time for the Utica (New York) College women’s soccer team.
Millets has started twice and played in eight games for a team that’s 7-2 overall, 2-0 in the Empire 8. She has played 338 minutes and picked up her first career point with an assist in a 3-0 victory over Houghton College.
Setting record straight
When Northampton’s standout senior running back Tyrese Brandon became the school’s all-time leading scorer Friday night with three touchdowns against East Stroudsburg South, he broke the previous record set by Robert Reimer, who had 277 points playing for Northampton’s unbeaten teams in 1955 and 1956.
With a quarterback sack against Palmerton Friday night, Northwestern Lehigh’s senior defensive end Conner Snyder became the school’s all-time sack leader with 16½. Kevin Karetsky, who played for the Tigers from 1995-98, was the previous record-holder with 16.
Whitehall athletic director and District 11 chairman Bob Hartman said the PIAA’s transfer rule is having an impact in reducing the number of transfers.