Generally, the PIAA seeks to prohibit athletic recruiting by its member schools. Indeed, it explicitly warns its members that any school that engages in prohibited athletic recruiting “should do so with the expectation that it will be treated harshly” by the PIAA.
However, the PIAA does recognize that certain forms of athletic recruiting, when limited in form and scope and directed at students who are already part of the member school’s public or nonpublic school system (i.e., its “feeder schools”), may be permitted without jeopardizing the values that the PIAA seeks to promote.
Section 7 of Article VI of the PIAA By-Laws deals specifically with the issue of athletic recruiting. It sets forth a definition of “recruiting,” and follows it with 13 separate illustrations of conduct that would fit within the definition of recruiting.
The definition itself is therefore of paramount importance. It reads:
“Recruiting which is materially motivated in some way by an athletic purpose is defined as efforts by a school, or any of its employees, agents, or representatives, to engage in, support, or condone conduct whereby a motivating factor is to seek out one or more athletes to attend a particular school; to promote a school’s athletic program or personnel other than as part of the overall program at the school; and/or, to provide preferential treatment or attention to prospective enrollees who are athletes.”
Interspersed among the 13 illustrations of prohibited forms of recruiting are descriptions of exceptions and qualifications to those prohibitions. Consequently, the permitted and forbidden types of conduct are best summarized in tabular form on the following pages.
District Committees are empowered to hold hearings and make findings regarding complaints of athletic recruiting. If the school or its personnel are determined to be in violation of the Recruiting Rules, severe penalties may be levied against the school by the PIAA. In addition, coaches may be suspended from coaching for a period of at least one year.