The Philadelphia Catholic League announced Monday it is postponing all fall high school sports until the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. That decision comes just three days after the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association's Board of Directors voted 25-5 to move forward with the fall season as planned
The PIAA's decision, which gave all leagues and schools an option to opt out of the fall, was met with some division because it went against state Gov. Tom Wolf's "strong recommendation" on Aug. 6 to suspend all sports until Jan. 1.
The PCL, traditionally of the strongest leagues in the state, includes 17 Catholic high schools in a five-county region. One of them is St. Joseph's Prep (Philadelphia)
, which is currently ranked No. 4 in the MaxPreps Top 25 football rankings and is the defending Class 6A state champion.
St. Joseph's Prep athletic director Dan DiBernadinis told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the school's football team is considering playing in the fall as in independent, though scheduling would be a major challenge.
In a letter sent from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to parents: "This is not the scenario any of us desired. 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 this news is disappointing to many of our students, families and coaches, particularly our seniors. It saddens us greatly as well."
The PIAA is one of 34 state governing bodies that has committed to playing football in the fall, with 16 opting for some time in 2021. The governing body noted Friday that it would help schools that postponed the fall season to get organized for 2021.
"We are confident that PIAA will seek to provide alternative solutions for those entities opting out of fall programs in the coming semester," the PCL statement read.