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The Philadelphia Public League (PPL) is the interscholastic sports league for the public high schools of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The league traces its origin to 1901, with the formation of the Philadelphia Interscholastic League, a conference encompassing all the city's high schools, public and private. Prior to this, the public and private schools in the area had been competing among themselves for several years in a number of sports, including football and basketball. Basketball and track and field were the first recognized sports in 1901, but football, although not formally on the schedule, engaged all the same teams, and newspapers usually recognized the school with the best record as the informal interscholastic champion. In 1902, baseball and crew were added to the schedule.


Initially, the Public League comprised the four public schools that withdrew from the Interscholastic League—Central, Central Manual, Northeast, and Southern—as well as West Philadelphia High. Germantown Academy, a private school, joined a few years later. Overbrook, Frankford, Simon Gratz, Olney, and Roxborough would join the league over the next couple of decades.

Football, basketball, rifle, outdoor track, crew, and baseball were offered in the first school year of competition, 1911-12. Crew was especially popular in Philadelphia, as the University of Pennsylvania sponsored interscholastic meets for the sport and encouraged its adoption by the city high schools. Soccer and cross country were added just before World War I, and the 1920s saw the introduction of swimming, gymnastics, golf, and tennis. The league experimented with indoor track (1915–21), ice hockey (1922), and bowling (1930–32), but these sports drew insufficient interest to sustain them. Crew was dropped by the league in 1919, which was a great blow to Central High, which for decades had one of the strongest rowing programs in the country.


The public school members in the Philadelphia Interscholastic League included Central High, Central Manual, and Northeast, in the first few years, and beginning in 1909 Southern. There were at least twelve different private schools that were members—secular, Quaker, and Catholic—and the most notable members were Brown Preparatory, Roman Catholic, Friends Central Select, and LaSalle. In 1911, the public school members withdrew from the league to form the Philadelphia High School League (later called the Philadelphia Public League).

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355 news items

Wed, 20 May 2015 19:15:00 -0700

Wednesday afternoon, Wood once again took care of business in the three game defeating Philadelphia Public League champions Palumbo 25-15, 25-12, 26-24 to claim the District 12 Clas AA title. If there could be any flaw found in the impressive Wood run ...
Mon, 18 May 2015 20:22:30 -0700

Archbishop Carroll (18-1) will play the Philadelphia Public League champion at 4 p.m. Friday at Northeast High for the District 12 championship. The District 12 winner will take on the fifth-place team from District One — Garnet Valley, Unionville ...
Mon, 18 May 2015 19:47:29 -0700

The Crusaders don't get another chance at the Raiders, but still can claim a District 12-AAA championship when they face a Philadelphia Public League side Wednesday, May 27 at Arcadia. Both teams qualify for the PIAA Tournament. “I think about a week ...
The Intelligencer
Sun, 17 May 2015 19:10:38 -0700

PIAA District 12 Class AA championship, Wednesday, 3:15 p.m., at The High School of the Future: The Philadelphia Catholic League champ, Archbishop Wood, takes on the Philadelphia Public League champ, Palumbo Academy, for the district crown.
Fri, 20 Feb 2015 03:15:00 -0800

Shawn Witherspoon (24) and his La Salle College teammates aren't impacted by Philly's latest mess, but the Explorers will meet George Washington in District 12-AAAA's win-or-else third-place game on Thursday. (Mark Pynes, PennLive.com). By Michael ...

The Philadelphia Tribune

The Philadelphia Tribune
Tue, 21 Apr 2015 12:04:44 -0700

The Philadelphia Public League Girl's Basketball Showcase was held at Simon Gratz High School on Saturday. There were two all-star games, which featured the top girls basketball players in the Public League. Joe Garrett, the head girl's basketball ...

Bucks County Courier Times

Bucks County Courier Times
Wed, 06 May 2015 18:02:22 -0700

The Eagles beat Frankford, 10-2, at Frankford Stadium for their third victory of the season over a Philadelphia Public League opponent. The site of the game, Frankford Stadium, does not have luxury boxes or a high-def scoreboard (actually the ...


Wed, 29 Apr 2015 05:11:15 -0700

Prior to Penn State: Barnes was the Philadelphia Public League School Player of the Year and helped Northeast High win its first PPL championship in nearly 30 years. The composite three-star prospect was rated the No. 11 player in Pennsylvania and the ...

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