Hilda Goodling Impact Academy withdrew from the PIAA Class A boys' basketball tournament Tuesday, just four days after winning a District 3 championship.
PIAA directors believe this is unprecedented, assistant executive director Melissa Mertz said.
Impact first informed the PIAA that its future as a school was in doubt for financial reasons Monday. Mertz said Impact coach and athletic director David Archer followed up Tuesday by withdrawing his team from the state tournament.
A phone call made to Archer was not answered. Messages left Monday by the York Daily Record were not returned. Isiah Anderson, managing officer for Impact parent company 3Cord Inc., told the Daily Record on Monday that its financial struggles have been "kind of coming to a head."
Impact is tuition-based, and Anderson said most students cannot afford to pay the costs. The school replaced New Hope Academy at 459 W. King St. in York after New Hope lost a lengthy court battle last spring to have its charter renewed.
Mertz said if Impact closes, there is a provision in PIAA by-laws to allow Impact student-athletes immediate eligibility at new schools.
"This happened when New Hope was almost going to close in January," Mertz said. "We had a provision that those students would be allowed to attend another school."
Impact offered only boys' basketball for this school year. Before the season, Archer said he approached other schools about a co-op for girls' basketball but was unsuccessful. The PIAA lists Impact as having a high school enrollment of 11 boys and five girls.
Impact also fielded a prep boys' basketball team, comprised mostly of post-high school graduates. High school senior Juwan Gooding, who moved to the area from Massachusetts, said Friday after the district championship that he intended to join the prep team next season while improving his grades.
Archer talked that day of providing opportunities for his players.
"When New Hope closed, we just didn't want to relinquish these kids," he said. "We wanted to get them to the end of this thing to make sure their lives stay on this track."
The school cancelled a Tuesday evening parent meeting because of inclement weather. Beforehand, Anderson issued the following statement:
"In light of the uncertain future of Hilda Goodling Impact Academy, the high school boys' basketball program wishes to withdraw from the state tourney. Our student athletes appreciate the opportunity extended to compete amongst other qualified teams. However, at this point our concentration is solely focused on that of ensuring each student athlete is able to maintain a quality education whether it be at Impact Academy or in another educational setting. We wish each of the teams the best of luck as they continue through the state tourney."
Impact's exit has created a ripple effect with the PIAA Class A tournament, which begins Friday.
The four District 3 teams that finished behind Impact will each move up a spot. Millersburg, which lost to Impact in the district final, will now face North Penn-Mansfield. Lancaster County Christian, which originally missed qualification for the PIAA tournament, slides up into the district's fourth and final spot for the state tourney.
Contact Matt Goul at 771-2045.