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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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20 news items

University City Review

University City Review
Wed, 26 Mar 2014 13:15:00 -0700

On the same court where both players shared fame and glory, the 2014 Philadelphia Public League Girls Basketball Showcase Classic took the main stage and showed off much of its great basketball talent. In front of an excited basketball crowd, inside ...
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:50:13 -0700

He was an ESPN Top-100 recruit and PARADE Magazine All-American after finishing second in Philadelphia Public League history with 2,356 career points. Creighton went 27-8 in 2013-14 while finishing second in the BIG EAST. The Bluejays advanced to ...

University City Review

University City Review
Wed, 09 Apr 2014 12:57:09 -0700

Two weeks ago, both players received M.V.P trophies in the Philadelphia Public League Girls Showcase Basketball Classic. Woods scored 32 points and Reynolds scored 23 points for their respective basketball teams in the All-Public Basketball Classic.
Omaha World-Herald
Sun, 13 Apr 2014 22:14:26 -0700

His total was the second highest in Philadelphia Public League history, and he was ranked No. 91 on ESPN.com's list of the top 100 recruits in 2012. He averaged 12.3 points in his two seasons at Boston U. As a sophomore, Watson led the Terriers in ...

White & Blue Review

White & Blue Review
Sun, 13 Apr 2014 14:28:19 -0700

... St. Joseph's and neglected to recruit Watson who ended his High School career at Boy's Latin with 2,356 career points, which put him 7th best all time in Southeastern Pennsylvania and second most in Philadelphia Public League ahead of NBA legend ...
Bucks County Courier Times
Wed, 09 Apr 2014 19:25:48 -0700

The Philadelphia Public League is new to boys lacrosse, and Conwell-Egan has proved to be a popular opponent for many of its programs. The Eagles have already knocked off George Washington, 7-4, and on May 3 will have their Senior Day when they ...
Delco News Network
Fri, 21 Mar 2014 03:18:17 -0700

That meant that the Philadelphia Public League school would be heading on to the semifinal round for the state championship. Ironically, PET Charter will face off against a fine and fierce foe right from Philly, the stellar squad from the Catholic ...
Wed, 26 Mar 2014 18:05:36 -0700

Junior forward Ryan Norkus added 12 points. Ahmad Gilbert, a 6-6 senior forward with offers from Drexel, Hofstra and Rhode Island, led Constitution with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Gilbert was the most valuable player of the Philadelphia Public League ...

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