Devon, PA – Devon Prep will participate in the 2020 Fall Sports Season!
Devon, PA – Devon Prep Will Participate In The 2020 Fall Sports Season
We are excited to announce that Devon Prep’s student-athletes will be able to participate in fall sports, sanctioned by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA).
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, the three remaining schools in the Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) – Devon Prep, La Salle College High School and St. Joseph’s Prep – agreed to play a modified Fall 2020 Catholic League schedule and will include non-league competition with fellow all-boys private school Holy Ghost Prep.
“We opened school in-person, full-time, and always hoped to participate in the fall sports season,” said Fr. Francisco Aisa, Headmaster. “We respect the decision that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia made to postpone fall sports for its network of schools in the PCL. However, Devon Prep is uniquely positioned to successfully and safely run a fall sports season.”
More than 85% of Devon’s High School population participates in athletics, not to mention managers, members of the broadcast club, and school publications that rely upon a season being played. Said Jason Fisher, Athletic Director, “The social and emotional factors played just as key a role as our student-athletes’ physical health. Our sports programs are a necessary part of so many of their lives, and we owed it to them to do everything we could to make this season happen.” The school also took into consideration their students’ college aspirations – this is time seniors can never get back. Added Fisher, “ The decision to have or not to have fall sports has real ramifications on the lives of our student-athletes that need the exposure of a season to compete at the collegiate level.”
All four schools intend to compete against one another in golf, cross country, and soccer. We are in the process of exploring possibilities for our Crew Program to get on the water sometime this fall. Additional details will be released through our Athletic Department soon regarding each team’s entire fall sports schedule.
What makes you confident you can do this safely?
Our top priority is to keep our student-athletes and coaches safe while also providing an opportunity to compete in their respective sports. These protocols were developed by public health experts with the safety of all in mind and were approved by state and local health officials. Each school has implemented their own safety protocols and we are confident that they align with one another in our efforts to do this safely. Many of our student-athletes are already competing in their respective sports outside of school. By offering school-sponsored fall athletics, this will allow them to play in a more structured environment with stringent safety measures.
What is the Philadelphia Catholic League?
The Philadelphia Catholic League is an association of Catholic high schools that was founded in 1920. La Salle College High School and St. Joseph’s Prep were two of the five founding members along with Roman Catholic, Villanova Prep (now Malvern Prep), and West Catholic. The league is currently composed of 18 Catholic high schools in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs (3 schools playing only girls sports, 5 schools playing only boys sports, and 10 schools playing both). Devon Prep joined the PCL in 2018.
How does the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s decision affect the Philadelphia Catholic League?
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia (AOP) is a local entity consisting of 17 Catholic high schools in the five-county region. The AOP is a system of secondary schools operating under the jurisdiction of the Office of Catholic Education and Faith in the Future and is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a school district spanning several counties. The AOP has no official jurisdiction over the Philadelphia Catholic League nor does it govern Devon Prep, Holy Ghost Prep, La Salle College High School, or St. Joseph’s Prep. All four schools are independent Catholic schools under the authority of individual governing bodies. The decision on the part of the AOP to suspend fall sports essentially left Devon Prep, La Salle College High School, and St. Joseph’s Prep in league with 12 fewer opponents.
Why is Holy Ghost Prep being added to the group for the fall?
Playing as an independent, Holy Ghost Prep was able to make a decision of its own, based on the PIAA and by fulfilling the requirements of state and local Departments of Health. Although it is a Catholic school, it is also not under the direct direction of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and operates independently. After being a member of the Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) since the 1970s, Holy Ghost Prep decided to become independent in all sports beginning with this school year. The decision allowed Holy Ghost to remain in the PIAA while building stronger schedules in all sports. For example, the Holy Ghost Prep soccer team, a traditional PIAA District One power, had put together a top-shelf schedule next fall—including four games vs. Inter-Ac teams, four against Philadelphia Catholic League teams, and three vs. Central League teams. But when those three aforementioned leagues postponed their fall seasons, Holy Ghost Prep had to find opponents to schedule soccer games, golf matches, and cross-country meets against, so they reached out to La Salle, St. Joseph’s Prep, and Devon Prep, three like-minded Catholic independent schools with similar missions that Ghost has played on a regular basis in different sports.
Will these four schools compete more officially moving forward?
Using the camaraderie of college athletics Philadelphia Big Five as a model, it is possible that these schools will compete against one another in a regular manner and anoint a champion in some sports in the future. However, each school will continue to compete in their regular leagues/affiliations.