Philadelphia Public League suspends school sports until 2021

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UPDATED: 4:45 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Members of the Philadelphia Public League won’t be playing sports this fall.

League President James Patrick Lynch said it is ceasing play until January 2021, based on Gov. Tom Wolf's coronavirus recommendations to postpone all student sports across the state.

Football, field hockey, girls tennis, golf, cross country, and soccer are among the high school sports that are suspended for 2020.

“It's a hard decision,” said Lynch. “It's not a decision anyone wants to make, but it's a decision we had to make, and we feel it's a great decision.”

But just because there are no games, doesn’t mean they're disconnecting from student-athletes.

“We'll begin working on a virtual program to continue engaging our kids in a meaningful way,” Lynch said, “to keep them engaged and focused on when it is safe to return.”

The league, which has acted as the governing body for Philadelphia public schools for a century, hasn't yet said if sports will be played later in the school year.

On Thursday, Wolf announced a recommendation of no youth sports until next year. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association voted last week to delay fall sports for two weeks. Its board of directors will meet again later this month to determine their next move.

PIAA is currently giving districts the power to decide if they will or will not allow fall sports.

In a statement, the Philadelphia Public League noted if the governor’s office changes or updates guidelines that would allow sports to resume, “we reserve the right to revisit our stance and provide further guidance on a safe return to play.”

Lynch added, “If we're permitted to do so, we'll move our seasons to the spring, like a lot of other state associations have done.”