PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Frustrated parents and students joined together in protest Friday. They’re angry about the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s decision to cancel fall sports.
About 100 people stood and rallied on 17th Street outside of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia building. They are calling for the archdiocese and the PCL to reconsider canceling its fall sports schedule. That includes sports like football, soccer, cross country, volleyball and golf.
Many of the athletes and parents say they have adamantly claimed they understand the risks involved with playing sports during this pandemic and have accepted them.
“Because it’s not fair and every other school — schools that aren’t even going back to school are playing,” Archbishop Wood senior Paige Hoeger said.
They say there was no communication between parents and the PCL. Some are even saying they will stop payment on tuition if the seasons are not reinstated.
“Maybe they thought they were speaking for us but after thousands of people have joined our site, they’re not speaking for us,” organizer Richard McFillin said. “We want our voices to be heard, we want them to know everybody’s playing. Everybody’s playing except Philadelphia, Philadelphia Archdiocese, Philadelphia Public Schools.”
Dawn Hoeger’s two daughters play for Archbishop Wood’s soccer team.
“There was no communication with us. We have a schedule. We were sent a schedule, what we’re going to play, it’s on my calendar. The girls have been training for a month now. You know, and then it just came down like a ton of bricks,” she said.
The Archdiocese tells Eyewitness News they respect the concerns of its parents but it will not be revisiting the decision and it will not be reversed.
Parents of Philadelphia Catholic League athletes are rallying outside of the @ArchPhilly building, demanding the archdiocese allow kids to play this fall.
— Dan Koob (@DanKoob) August 28, 2020
Member schools who do want to practice can do so, they have to have a health and safety plan approved by the archdiocese and then they can have voluntary offseason workouts beginning Sept. 8.
“We know this virus is legitimate, but this age group we know, with this demographic, we can finish playing. And that not playing would do more harm than playing,” McFillin said.
Some schools that play in the PCL but are not full members, like La Salle and St. Joe’s Prep, are trying to figure out a way to play a fall sports schedule independently. They say they’re currently working out the logistics.
Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association is moving forward and playing their high school sports schedules.