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August 24, 2020

Philly Catholic League cancels high school fall sports amid coronavirus pandemic

As PIAA gives go ahead to restart, Archdiocese pulls plug on 2020 season

Schools Sports
Philly Catholic League Mike Benson/

The Philadelphia Catholic League is comprised of 17 high schools in five counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania. In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia decided fall sports will not proceed in 2020.

Fall sports will not proceed at the 17 high schools that participate in the Philadelphia Catholic League, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Monday.

The decision comes on the same day the PIAA permitted fall sports practices to resume at all Pennsylvania high schools opting to move forward with their athletics programs during the coronavirus pandemic.

"After much careful thought, consultation and prayer, a decision has been reached that all of our high schools will opt out of participation in interscholastic competition for the fall 2020 season," the Archdiocese said in a statement. "We recognize that this news is disappointing to many of our students, families and coaches, particularly our seniors. It saddens us greatly as well. 

"We recognize the value of athletics as part of our educational philosophy that seeks to provide for the holistic formation of young men and women of character. This is not the scenario any of us desired."

The Archdiocese cited the teams' need to travel within the five-county region among the reasons for not moving ahead with fall sports.

Earlier this month, the School District of Philadelphia similarly decided not to proceed with fall sports, heeding the recommendation of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and the Department of Health.

After considering the state's recommendation, the PIAA voted Friday to permit formal athletic activities to start up again.

The Archdiocese said that it expects some kind of alternative solution will be provided by the PIAA for schools that opt out, though it remains unclear what that might be. No timeline was given for resuming activity in the Philly Catholic League.

"We are confident that PIAA will seek to provide alternative solutions for those entities opting out of fall programs in the coming semester," the Archdiocese said. "The pandemic has made every aspect of life unpredictable for all of us over the past several months. As we continue to live in a time of uncertainty, it would be imprudent to speculate regarding an exact time when competitions will resume or regarding the status of spring semester athletics. In keeping with our commitment, we will share timely information with you about developments and decisions affecting our schools."