Potential enrollment error has Woodland Hills moving to WPIAL 6A football, basketball | Trib HSSN

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Tuesday, November 28, 2023 | 5:55 PM


Woodland Hills may have misreported its enrollment numbers to the PIAA, causing its sports teams to jump into higher classifications starting next year.

The school reported 638 boys and 619 girls, according to updated enrollment numbers released Tuesday by the PIAA, but Wolverines football coach Brian Tarrant said those figures are incorrect. His football team jumped to Class 6A, the sport’s largest classification. He said the correct numbers would’ve kept the Wolverines in 5A.

“It was definitely misreported,” Tarrant said. “We don’t have 638 kids.”

The PIAA released updated enrollment numbers for all sports.

Teams have until Friday to voluntarily “play up” into a higher classification. The lists released Tuesday did not include the effects of the PIAA competitive-balance rule, which are determined later.

Tarrant said Woodland Hills has asked the PIAA to let the school fix its reported enrollment. The new numbers also have Woodland Hills jumping from Class 5A to 6A in both boys and girls basketball.

“They have indicated they made an error in their submission and are requesting the Board’s consideration,” PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said.

The PIAA board meets Dec. 6.

Woodland Hills athletic director Tymeer Brown didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

It’s unclear whether the PIAA will grant Woodland Hills’ request.

Member schools submit updated enrollment information every two years, and the PIAA uses that data to realign teams into classifications. Schools count boys and girls in grades 9-11.

The PIAA traditionally hasn’t let schools fix enrollment errors after the deadline. Notably, Sto-Rox in 2014 faced a similar dilemma and the PIAA forced the Vikings to remain in a higher football classification.

If Woodland Hills stays in Class 6A football for the 2024 and ’25 seasons, the WPIAL would have as many as nine teams in the largest classification, up from five this year. In the new PIAA numbers, Hempfield and Norwin moved up to join Canon-McMillan, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny and Seneca Valley in 6A.

Central Catholic’s enrollment now qualifies for Class 5A football, but athletic director Rick Capretta said the Vikings will play in 6A. Butler would be the ninth in 6A if the team decides to return to WPIAL competition rather than pursue an independent schedule.

The PIAA changed the formula used for counting enrollment this year, so many public schools were expected to see an increase from two years ago.

In 2021, schools counted only 10% of students in alternate settings such as charter, cyber or home schools. Now, a school must count 100% of those students toward its PIAA enrollment.

But Woodland Hills’ increase was more than would be expected.

The school reported 413 boys in 2019, 245 in ’21 and 639 this year. The girls enrollment dropped from 370 in 2019 to 250 in ’21 under the 10% rule — and now jumped to 619.

Under the 10% rule, the Woodland Hills football team qualified to compete in Class 3A. However, Wolverines voluntarily “played up” to 5A in the past two seasons.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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