Public vs. private debate not exclusive to PIAA: Alabama defends its competitive-balance formula in court |

Public vs. private debate not exclusive to PIAA: Alabama defends its competitive-balance formula in court

Chris Harlan
Mars Area is reflected in their runner-up trophy after their game against Neumann-Goretti during the PIAA Class AAA boys basketball championship on Friday, March 18, 2016 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. Neumann-Goretti won 99-66.

As the PIAA debates a competitive-balance formula for Pennsylvania high school athletics, another state association is defending a similar system in court.

A Catholic school in Mobile, Ala., has asked a federal judge to abolish the formula created by the Alabama High School Athletic Association intended to address imbalance between public and private schools in that state, according to

A judge this week denied St. Paul’s Episcopal School’s request for a preliminary injuction .

Competitive-balance formulas force successful teams into a higher classification with schools that have larger enrollments. In Alabama, private school enrollments already are calculated with a multiplier of 1.35.

A lawfirm representing the Mobile, Ala., school argued that “AHSAA’s new rule penalizes some private schools for being successful and increases private school athletes’ injury risk,” according to, which noted St. Paul’s won five state titles last school year.

Alabama’s competitive-balance formula only applies to private schools .

The PIAA formula under consideration would apply to all member schools and would factor in both postseason success and the number of athletes who transferred into the school. The PIAA could finalize its formula at the July board meeting.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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