Archdiocesan high schools to not compete in fall sports

Today, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that is 17 high schools throughout the Philadelphia region will not compete in fall sports. A letter from Sister Maureen Lawrence McDermott, I.H.M. Ph.D., superintendent for secondary schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and Irene Horstmann Hannan, chief executive officer of Faith in the Future, informed the school’s families and staff.

Local students attend Saint John Paul II High School in Royersford or Archbishop Carrol in Radnor.

From the letter:

As you are likely aware, the PIAA shared a public announcement last Friday afternoon that its board voted to permit fall sporting competitions to take place in high schools around the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at the discretion of the local school entity.  

In the case of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the local entity consists of all 17 high schools in the five-county region as a unified body. In reality, we are a system of secondary schools and the Department of Education in Harrisburg views us a school district spanning multiple counties.

Our system operates under the jurisdiction of the Office of Catholic Education and Faith in the Future. As such, senior leadership from both FIF and OCE have carefully deliberated PIAA’s announcement through the lens of the principles that have always shaped our response to the pandemic—preserving health and safety, following guidelines established by the governor, Department of Health and Department of Education, and maintaining a consistent system-wide approach to decision making. 

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. 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.

We are confident that PIAA will seek to provide alternative solutions for those entities opting out of fall programs in the coming semester. 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.

The local public high school, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, has until Friday, August 28th to declare to its league, Suburban One League, whether it will compete in the fall.

You can read the full letter here.