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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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474 news items

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 ...
City of Basketball Love
Wed, 04 Feb 2015 13:25:23 -0800

The Philadelphia Public League's regular season is over, and now the 40 teams remaining will battle it out for the championship. Sammy Foreman (above) and Martin Luther King are looking to repeat as Public League champions. (Photo: Josh ...
The Intelligencer
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 18:54:29 -0800

At St. Joseph's Prep on Saturday afternoon, Philadelphia Public League runner-up Mastery Charter North, Wood's opponent in the District 12 Class AAA girls basketball championship for the second consecutive year, did everything in its power to knock the ...
Albany Times Union
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:00:00 -0800

Notre Dame-East Stroudsburg 65, Pottsville Nativity 47. Class AAA. Third Place. Tamaqua 53, Salisbury 47. Championship. Pottsville 57, Allentown Central Catholic 47. Philadelphia Public League Tournament. Class AA. Conwell-Egan 67, Freire Charter 31 ...

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City of Basketball Love
Wed, 14 Jan 2015 17:43:03 -0800

Each team in the Public League's “A” Division has played five league games, with each program going up against each other exactly once. So while there's still plenty of time for things to change, we at least have a pretty clear idea of where things stand.
Mon, 16 Feb 2015 07:04:36 -0800

And by spending last week polishing off three victories and collaring the Philadelphia Public League's Class A title, Rob Moore's Constitution Generals also held on to their No. 1 post in PennLive's Class A boys' basketball rankings. Moore's club ...
Mon, 23 Feb 2015 07:00:00 -0800

Rob Moore's high-powered Constitution club nearly reeled in the Philadelphia Public League's prized title, but a 77-75 loss to Class AAA hammer Imhotep Charter prevented the Generals from hoisting the championship trophy. Despite Sunday afternoon's ...
Albany Times Union
Wed, 11 Feb 2015 18:26:15 -0800

Semifinal. Cedar Crest 45, Manheim Central 40. Lancaster McCaskey 59, Conestoga Valley 51. PAISAA Tournament. The Hill School 75, Barrack Hebrew 24. Philadelphia Public League Tournament. Class A. Semifinal. Constitution 78, Sankofa Freedom 49.

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