Sunday, July 07, 2013

The effects of a City League/WPIAL merger.

There has been talk over the years about the Pittsburgh City League and the WPIAL merging, and I covered this subject in a previous blog post:

http://moonlightscribbler.blogspot.com/2010/04/what-to-do-with-pittsburgh-city-league.html

The problem with a merger is that depending on the sport, we have a 'haves' vs 'have nots' situation. 

In most sports, you won't have to worry about Allderdice competing because they have the most well rounded athletic program in the City. If there was a WPIAL-like athletic program in the City League, it would be Allderdice.   Football is the biggest concern for all City schools, but other than football, the 'Dice can hang with a lot of WPIAL programs in other sports. 

And by hanging, I mean this early in the game, they can win against mid and low level high schools, and won't crap the bed against the NA's, Centrals, Lebos, and USC's, and eventually, with time, will make the playoffs. When it was announced that Allderdice would compete in the WPIAL in sports like swimming, tennis, cross country, etc, you could hear the Dice coaches of those sports screaming for joy from ten miles away, because they'd be wanting to do this for the past 25-30 years.  You could also hear the coaches of those sports from other City schools shouting for joy because Allderdice had dominated those sports for 25-30 years, and finally their schools would get a chance to win a City title.  

Carrick and Brashear would also adapt to the WPIAL relatively well to a lesser extent than Allderdice.  The big worry would be schools like Obama, Perry and Westinghouse.  Perry would have problems in the WPIAL in football at first, but because they can and will play anyone, they'd be the first of the City schools to show quick improvement, and most likely the first City League team to make the WPIAL playoffs in football. Perry is also respectable in hoops, but other sports, they'd get crushed. Westinghouse is up and down in hoops, bad in football and almost non existent in everything else. Obama is competitive in hoops, swimming, and soccer, and nonexistent in everything else, except when they compete as USO/U-Prep in football.

Along with Perry, U-Prep is the most promising football program in the City and would take their lumps in the WPIAL, but they and Perry will improve faster than any other City squad.  

Unfortunately a full City/WPIAL merger would be an all or nothing affair.   Everything would have to go over, and in sports like tennis, swimming, cross country, etc, schools like Perry, Obama, and the 'House would either not offer those sports, and just concentrate on football and hoops, or try to put teams together, and spend years before they get wins.  

I am still very much in favor of a merger, because, frankly, the ship has sailed on the City League. It's on borrowed time, life support, whatever euphemism you want to use.  The gap between the WPIAL and the City in most sports will continue to get wider.  The league will not improve sitting on its own little island.  It is only a matter of time.  As much as it'll pain fans of the City League to have to watch almost 100 years of tradition go away, unless a HUGE number of people move back into Pittsburgh from the suburbs and bring their athletic kids with them and put those kids into all the City schools and not just the 'good' ones, the City League as we know it will be gone in a few years.  And that is sad.  Because there are good kids and coaches trying hard to bring a little recognition and respect to the League.