District 11 chair­man Hart­man: Trans­fer rule hav­ing an im­pact

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - Keith Groller Keith Groller can be reached at 610-820-6740 or at [email protected]

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.

SHARON K. MERKEL/SPE­CIAL TO THE MORN­ING CALL

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.

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