The PIAA has released its classification parameters for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years and there will be significant changes for several local schools, especially in football.
South Fayette, which won the WPIAL Class 4A football championship a year ago, and three Class 2A titles from 2010 to 2014, when there were only four classifications in football, will be moving up to Class 5A beginning next year.
South Fayette has an unofficial male enrollment of 440, well above the limit of 398 for Class 4A.
Though the PIAA did not release enrollment figures of schools, the Observer-Reporter obtained unofficial enrollments for WPIAL members. Official enrollment numbers will not be posted by the PIAA until December and they could change before that time.
South Fayette is one of two local schools that are in line to move up a class in football. The other is Chartiers-Houston, which played this year and last in the Class A Tri-County South Conference. The Bucs will move up to Class 2A next fall. Chartiers-Houston’s unofficial male enrollment of 135 is over the Class A limit of 129.
Three teams that played Class 2A football this season – Carmichaels in the Century Conference and Burgettstown and Fort Cherry in the Three Rivers Conference – each will move down to Class A. Carmichaels, Mapletown, Jefferson-Morgan and West Greene in Greene County, along with Burgettstown, Fort Cherry, Bentworth, California and Avella in Washington County and Monessen in Westmoreland County will be in Class A.
Waynesburg, which was a geographic misfit in the Class 3A Tri-County West Conference for two seasons, will be dropping to Class 2A, where it will join more familiar foes McGuffey, Charleroi, Washington, Beth-Center and Chartiers-Houston.
Trinity, Ringgold and Belle Vernon will remain in Class 4A, Peters Township is staying in Class 5A and Canon-McMillan is the area’s only Class 6A football school. Class 6A will lose Pine-Richland, which is dropping to 5A, but will add Baldwin to remain at nine teams.
Brownsville and Southmoreland, members of the Class 2A Century Conference, will be moving up to Class 3A.
One other significant change could be on the horizon for WPIAL football next year. The district has been considering for months the possibility of forming conferences based on geography and not only on classification. There could be conferences that include schools from more than one classification. A new WPIAL football system could have as few as four classifications in the regular season but will hold playoffs in six classes.
The WPIAL will survey its membership to see if the majority of schools are in favor of such a system.