The PIAA transfer rule - which became an issue when state Sen. Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) put the agency under the gun with a last-minute amendment to the school funding bill, presumably at the behest of one or more Juniata County School District residents - will be discussed when the PIAA committee of the whole meets today and Friday.
Whether it will even matter to the Juniata families who prodded Corman, who essentially threatened the PIAA's existence if it did not meet his demand, remains to be seen - the board approved a form of scholastic athletics in the district, but that may or may not meet the requirement of the Corman amendment.
Nor may the PIAA's answer - but I like what the folks in Mechanicsburg are doing in that regard.
To recap: Corman's amendment required the PIAA to modify its transfer rule - which triggers a loss of eligibility if a student moves between schools primarily for athletic purposes - to allow transfers when a school drops athletics.
But, despite supposedly being all about the unique situation in Juniata County, the amendment states that transfers must be allowed when "a school entity that has abolished its program of interscholastic athletics in whole or in part." And it didn't specify loss of funding as the only reason students would be able to transfer, nor limit the sport(s) in which a transferring student would be allowed to participate.
Technically, by merging the golf programs from Juniata and East Juniata, the district still has abolished a program. So, based on Corman's poorly-worded amendment, a student could theoretically transfer freely out of Juniata County to play any sport elsewhere - although it might take a court ruling to enforce that.
Enter the PIAA, which apparently is willing to save face for Corman with its own take on the required modification. The rule, which falls under Article VI, Section 4, of the PIAA rules, requires the transfer to involve a school that has terminated a sport for budgetary reasons. It would limit the transfer to students who played that sport at their school in the year prior to the transfer. It still requires the transfer approval process to be followed.
And it would have a geographic limit, too.
In the PIAA's version, the receiving school must be in the same school district as the terminating school, or in a contiguous school district. That means a Juniata student could not transfer anywhere in the state - but still would have plenty of options, as Mifflin County, Mount Union, Midd-West, Greenwood, Southern Huntingdon, Fannett-Metal, West Perry and even Selinsgrove Area school districts all touch Juniata's border.
Students who can play through a cooperative agreement would not be eligible for a transfer under the rule.
And, the receiving school could have a say in it, too - the proposed rule states that no school is required to accept a transfer.
Undoubtedly, the PIAA could have come up with this on its own, and probably would have, given the opportunity to do so. But because the school district had to work on its calendar, and the PIAA on its, the issue apparently had to be forced by a legislator who was not willing to wait for the entities responsible for the situation to take action.
Between the two, it's apparent the PIAA has it right. It surely will pass - Corman's threat to break the agency notwithstanding - and hopefully will meet with the good senator's approval.
The last part of this equation, and one that won't be seen at least until the school year starts, is whether the approved athletics in Juniata County will fulfill the requirement, especially if one or more sports are not able to be funded by boosters.
Hopefully, Sen. Corman can let the folks responsible for that straighten it out on their own.
Jeff Fishbein is sports editor of The Sentinel. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.