With the creation of the District of Columbia State Athletic Association, the District will award titles in boys' and girls' cross-country, boys' and girls' soccer, and boys' football in divisions I and II, beginning in fall 2012.
Public schools, charter schools and area independent schools will compete in the inaugural D.C. state championship games. The announcement will not cover winter and spring sports like basketball and baseball.
The move comes after Gray appointed gay rights activist Clark Ray, a former D.C. parks and recreation chief, as the first districtwide athletic director, part of his effort to unite DC Public Schools and charter schools on the playing field.
In announcing the new position, Gray said it was critical to ensuring charter schools -- which enroll 40 percent of the city's public school students -- could compete alongside DCPS in events like the Turkey Bowl.
The Turkey Bowl has been a Thanksgiving Day tradition in the District for the past 42 years, pitting the city's top two football teams against each other.
Local sports fanatics have long decried the lack of a championship for all high school athletes in the District, saying it kept the community from crowning a true champion on the field, limited exposure for those with athletic aspirations at the collegiate level and deprived others of what has become a sports rite of passage for high schoolers nationwide.
Under the current system, charter schools must apply for a sanction to play any team outside the DC Public Charter School Board's purview. That has become an issue, charter leaders say, when teams are set to play in an out-of-state tournament but DCPS' computers go down -- or DCPS loses the papers -- and the team can't play.
Gray will make the announcement Wednesday, alongside Ray and DCPS Athletics Director Stephanie Evans.