Who didn’t see this coming?
St. Joe’s Prep released a joint statement with La Salle CHS and Devon Prep basically telling the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to go away after it was announced that Fall sports would be moving to the Spring.
In the message, they say they’re going to work together with Holy Ghost Prep to created a modified schedule:
PHILADELPHIA — Last week, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that their high schools will not be competing in fall sports this season. Once informed of that decision, St. Joseph’s Prep and the other two independent Catholic high schools who compete in the Philadelphia Catholic League — Devon Prep and La Salle College High School — have agreed to play a modified Fall 2020 league schedule and will include non-league competition with fellow all-boys private school Holy Ghost Prep.
All four schools intend to compete against one another in cross country, golf, and soccer while the Prep and La Salle are strongly committed to finding opportunities to play football this fall. Also, though most, if not all, fall rowing competitions have been cancelled across the country due to local or state COVID-19 restrictions, Philadelphia is permitting rowing competition without spectators. The possibility of rowing scrimmages is still an option this fall.
“While we respect the decision of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, we believe that we can offer athletic opportunities for our student-athletes in a safe, controlled manner,” says Dan DiBerardinis, Prep Athletic Director. “Utilizing our Return to Play protocol, which was approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Philadelphia Department of Health and endorsed by the PIAA, we feel strongly that a fall sports season can be done safely. We will take every precaution to ensure that all of our coaches and players are following strict protocols.”
One of the things mentioned later in the letter is that there is no guarantee that Fall sports can even be played in the Spring, with multi-sport athletes running into conflicts while logistics and scheduling are looking wonky. SJP also points out that sports are important for the emotional, physical, and mental well-being of students and suspending these programs would also impact their ability to earn athletic scholarships for college.
From an outsider’s perspective, none of this is surprising. SJP and LSCHS are high school football powerhouses, and to think they would just roll over and die and not play this Fall is something that would never happen, not in a million bazillion years. The question is how the Archdiocese responds and whether these schools can or will be punished for their transgressions. I don’t think the AOP has that power, but perhaps all parties will come to an agreement. They will go into the confessional and admit to their sins before saying 10 Our Fathers and 10 Hail Marys, then all is forgiven and they can proceed to lay the smack down on the gridiron.
(btw Holy Ghost Prep is an independent now; they used to compete in the Bicentennial League, but left recently)