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Archdiocese cancels fall sports for Philadelphia Catholic League, plus Bishop Shanahan, Pope John Paul II

The Philadelphia Archdiocese’s Monday decision to cancel all fall sports for this season reverberates far beyond the Philadelphia Catholic League.

Two other members of the Archdiocese — Bishop Shanahan High School of the Ches-Mont League, and Pope John Paul II of the Pioneer Athletic Conference — will both sit out the fall, throwing a major wrench into the schedules for those two leagues, as well. 

Three other PAC schools — Norristown, Phoenixville and Pottstown — had already suspended fall sports.

The Archdiocese hopes to play fall sports this spring.

Bishop Shanahan head football coach and associate athletic director Paul Meyers confirmed that the school was informed of the Archdiocese’s decision Monday.

“The kids have been putting in a lot of work,” Meyers said. “We were ready to go. We were working five days a week. But, I understand the tough situation the Archdiocese was in. Once the governor recommended no sports until January, it put every school board and everybody’s superintendent’s back against the wall. We will continue to do offseason workouts with the hope the PIAA allows a February/March season. If and when they do, we will be ready.”

“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,” a statement released by the Archdiocese said. “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’s decision means neither the Catholic League nor Philadelphia Public League, which earlier this month postponed its sports through Jan. 1, will have teams compete this fall.

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

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