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Will WPIAL football finals be televised?

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The WPIAL and Root Sports are “still negotiating” whether the WPIAL football championships Nov. 26 at Heinz Field will be televised, WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said tonight at the playoff pairings meeting at the Radisson Hotel, Green Tree.

Root Sports has a scheduling conflict – it is contractually obligated to telecast the Penguins game at Montreal at 7 o’clock that night – and the sides are working to see if they can start the first game earlier and switch the order of the four championship games.

“We absolutely would like to have them televised,” O’Malley said. “That’s why we’re attempting to find compromise.”

Root Sports general manager Shawn McClintock declined comment.

Traditionally, the WPIAL finals begin with the Class A game at 10:30 a.m., followed by Class AA at 1:30 p.m., Class AAA at 5 p.m. at Class AAAA at 8 p.m. Root Sports wants the first game to start by 9:30 a.m. so it can televise three WPIAL championship games before the start of the Penguins-Canadiens game. (The Penguins already have agreed to go without a pre-game show).  O’Malley said Root Sports also has requested that the WPIAL play the Class AA final first, followed by AAA and Quad-A so that the Class A final would start at 8 p.m

In years past, some games have been shown on tape delay.

Root Sports will telecast a WPIAL playoff game every week, starting Friday with Seneca Valley at Penn Hills. O’Malley said his preference would be for Root Sports to televise the WPIAL championships but not at the expense of the participating teams.

“We think it adds significance to the playoffs,” O’Malley said. “However, there’s that side of the coin, too, that these kids are playing the biggest game of their life. We can’t remove that that’s what the games are being played for. So, we’re attempting to balance what we hold in importance and obviously what (Root) is contractually held to.”

— Kevin Gorman

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