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Say It Isn't So! Philadelphia Public League Suspends All Sports


PHILADELPHIA PA (August 12, 2020)--The Philadelphia Public League has announced that all Interscholastic Sports will be canceled from now up until January 1, 2021.

Below is the League's Statement: Screen Shot 2020-08-11 at 13.19.23

“In accordance with Governor Wolf’s recommendations that were made on August 6th, the Philadelphia Public League will be suspending all interscholastic athletic programming through January 1, 2021. If guidelines released by the Governor’s office change, or are updated in a way that would allow programming to resume, we reserve the right to revisit our decision and provide further guidance on a safe return to play. Our focus in the immediate future will be on developing a robust virtual program this fall to engage our student-athletes in a meaningful way as it pertains to NCAA Eligibility, sport leadership programming, post-secondary readiness, and health and wellness programming, in addition to creating a plan to provide individualized skill building and fitness workouts when permitted to resume safely.

We recognize the important role that interscholastic athletics play both on and off the field, and in the lives of our student-athletes, coaches and our school communities, but it is the health safety of those groups and their families that are paramount to our district. We will continue working with the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association in an effort to develop alternative schedules to provide a safe and healthy return to play for all our sports, when recommended to do so by the Governor’s office. The Philadelphia Public League is committed to work to ensure all of our student-athletes have the opportunity to participate in their chosen sport.”


The League traces its origin to 1901, with the formation of the Philadelphia Interscholastic League, a conference encompassing all the city's high schools, public and private. Prior to this, the public and private schools in the area had been competing among themselves for several years in a number of sports, including football and basketball. Basketball and track and field were the first recognized sports in 1901, but football, although not formally on the schedule, engaged all the same teams, and newspapers usually recognized the school with the best record as the informal interscholastic champion. In 1902, baseball and crew were added to the schedule.  Initially, the Philadelphia Public League comprised the four public schools that withdrew from the Interscholastic League in – Central, Central Manual, Northeast, and Southern – as well as the addition of West Philadelphia High.  Germantown Academy, a private school, joined a few years later, and in 1920 the Philadelphia Public League was born.  Overbrook, Frankford, Simon Gratz, Olney, and Roxborough would join the league over the next couple of decades to expand the league.