Philly area Catholic schools cancel fall sports

(WHYY file photo)

(WHYY file photo)

Catholic high schools in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania collar counties will not participate in sports this fall.

Faith in the Future, the organization that oversees high schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and the Archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Education made the announcement Monday.

The decision affects all 17 archdiocesan high schools in Philadelphia and the four suburban counties.

“We recognize that this news is disappointing to many of our students, families and coaches, particularly our seniors. It saddens us greatly as well,” Sister Maureen Lawrence McDermott, the archdiocese’s superintendent for secondary schools, and Irene Horstmann Hannan, chief executive officer of Faith in the Future, wrote in a joint letter sent to families and school staff.

“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.”

Gov. Tom Wolf recommended that Pennsylvania schools not hold competitions until the beginning of 2021. Last week, however, the state body that oversees scholastic sports voted to allow local leaders to make the final call.

Philadelphia’s public school system has already decided to suspend high school sports until January 2021 — as have many of the region’s major suburban school districts.

The Philadelphia region’s Catholic League is traditionally one of its strongest — and Monday’s decision will create a major hole in the area’s sports landscape.

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