York, PA - The Gettysburg Area School District Board of Education will vote Monday night whether to apply for membership in the YAIAA. Should that vote pass by a majority of the nine-member board, it will be up to a vote of YAIAA schools on Jan. 14.
YAIAA executive director George Shue said he did not hear any opposition at the league's executive board meeting Thursday, which he estimated included five of eight officials. School principals and athletic directors representing all 22 YAIAA schools will vote Jan. 14.
"We didn't take a formal vote," Shue said of Thursday's meeting. "I would be surprised if they weren't accepted."
Former YAIAA executive director Herb Schmidt added: "I'd say the only hesitation would be we wouldn't know what division they'd be in. For a team like Kennard-Dale, it could create a long travel time."
Those two schools are separated by a little more than 50 miles. However, South Western and New Oxford are within 20 and were rivals in the Blue Mountain League -- something Gettysburg athletic director Carlos Wampler said appeals to his school.
Likewise, the same possibility excited South Western athletic director Don Seidenstricker, the Mustangs' football coach for 26 years before retiring from that position last year. His school has maintained a non-league rivalry with Gettysburg across multiple sports, including the football season opener. But Seidenstricker cautioned Gettysburg has come close to joining in the past.
"This is probably the fourth time since I've been a football coach or athletic director that I've heard about it," he said.
Wampler, though, is confident his school board will pass the move Monday. Gettysburg's athletic director since 1999, Wampler said the district applied to join the YAIAA on two occasions while he was an assistant AD. Both times the board voted not to apply and stay in the Mid-Penn conference, which it joined in 1993 after the Blue Mountain League dissolved.
"This time there's support for it," Wampler said. "The principal and superintendent; the three of us presented it to the board, and they gave us the directive to explore it."
If approved by the Gettysburg school board, the YAIAA should act quickly. The reason is schools operate under a two-year window to schedule athletic events. Currently in the first year of that cycle, Shue said the earliest Gettysburg can join the YAIAA is the fall of 2014. Schmidt said schedules for fall sports that year are due to athletic directors this August.
Gettysburg's prospective move would not only affect its programs and the YAIAA but many of the other 31 Mid-Penn schools. Currently, Gettysburg participates in the Mid-Penn Colonial Division for most sports, such as football and boys' and girls' basketball. In football, for example, an exit would impact division-rival Northern York.
Shue said no other schools have applied to join the YAIAA, which would have an odd number of teams with Gettysburg.
"Let's put it this way," Shue said of adding a 24th school after Gettysburg, "it would make things a lot easier, and we'd be receptive to it."
Gettysburg's 2011 fall enrollment, which is used for classification in PIAA sports, includes 400 boys and 413 girls, putting the Warriors in Class AAA. YAIAA schools of similar size include Northeastern (414 boys, 414 girls) and Dover (405 boys, 424 girls).
However, the schools closest to Gettysburg are either bigger -- including South Western and New Oxford -- or smaller -- such as Bermudian Springs, Biglerville and Littlestown. Those five schools once competed with Gettysburg in the Blue Mountain League.
Bermudian, Biglerville and Fairfield were the last schools to join the YAIAA in 2004. Like Gettysburg, those three moved from the Mid-Penn.