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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).

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

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The Philadelphia Tribune

The Philadelphia Tribune
Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:40:21 -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
Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:36:28 -0700

The other win came against George Washington, one of the top teams in the Philadelphia Public League. If the Eagles' game with Frankford scheduled for last Monday had not been postponed, they probably would have won three out of four. The Frankford ...

The Philadelphia Tribune

The Philadelphia Tribune
Wed, 22 Apr 2015 04:37:30 -0700

Watson recently participated in the Philadelphia Public League All Star Classic Showcase as a result of averaging 16 points and 8 assists per game this past season. “Lauren comes from Germantown and her background is not without adversity,” ...

The Philadelphia Tribune

The Philadelphia Tribune
Thu, 16 Apr 2015 23:56:15 -0700

Paul Robeson High's Marketta Thomas has signed with Clemson University. — PHOTO BY ABDUL R. SULAYMAN, TRIBUNE CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER. Posted: Friday, April 17, 2015 3:00 am. Paul Robeson track star Markeeta Thomas headed to Clemson ...
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
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 05:12:40 -0700

Former Friends Central basketball star Amile Jefferson will be a player to watch when Duke plays Michigan State in the Final Four on Saturday, April 4. Jefferson, a 6-foot-9, 215-pound junior, plays for Duke. The Blue Devils (33-4) will battle the ...
The Philadelphia Tribune
Fri, 10 Apr 2015 04:15:00 -0700

One of the advantages of my position as the president and CEO of the National Urban League is that I have both the opportunity and platform to speak to so many of our nation's young people. I was presented with that same opportunity last week as a ...


Tue, 03 Mar 2015 20:41:10 -0800

In the Philadelphia Public League, 12 schools have qualified bowlers. Central leads all Public League schools, sending its boy team, one individual girl and four individual boys to regionals. Randolph has two individual boys participating and Girls ...

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