- Associated Press - Thursday, October 8, 2015

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (AP) - In a move that changes the landscape of high school sports, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association approved a measure that would expand high school football classifications from four to six.

The board of directors voted 26-4 on Wednesday for the change to take effect in the 2016-17 school year.

The board also voted overwhelmingly to expand boys’ and girls’ basketball, baseball and softball to six classifications. Boys’ and girls’ soccer and volleyball will increase to four classes, field hockey will bump up to three, and boys’ and girls’ lacrosse will jump up to two.

Bob Hartman, the District 11 chairman and Whitehall athletic director, said the move will give more schools and communities a chance to play for championships, which could encourage the schools to be more engaged in sports.

“I think when schools and communities and kids get a chance to play for championships, it makes that school and community a better place to be,” Hartman told The Morning Call of Allentown. “It’s more exciting. The halls are better. There’s more spirit. There’s probably better discipline, and school’s more engaged. I really find it hard to believe that that’s a bad thing.”

The football season will be shortened by a week because of the move. Districts will have the option of playing two scrimmages, or one scrimmage and start playing games the second week.

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