Central Athletic League

The Central Athletic League, known colloquially as the Central League, is a high school sports league located in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Currently, the league consists of twelve high schools primarily from Delaware County with additional constituency from Chester and Montgomery counties.



The schools all compete in varsity high school sports in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, or the PIAA. Central League teams compete in District 1.





The Central League started on May 28, 1966 as a spin-off from the Suburban League when nine schools, most of them along the Main Line, announced they were leaving the Suburban League to start the Central League, to begin play in the 1967 academic year. The schools that founded the league were Conestoga, Harriton, Haverford, Lower Merion, Marple, Penncrest, Radnor, Springfield and Upper Darby.

Ridley joined in 1969 when Harriton joined the Suburban 3 League. Harriton rejoined the league in 2008.

Strath Haven joined in 1983.

Garnet Valley joined in 2008.

At the end of the 1988 scholastic year, the Ches-Mont League was down to only four schools - Coatesville, Downingtown, West Chester East, and West Chester Henderson. Fearing that it could not operate as a four-team league, the remaining Ches-Mont schools applied for membership in the Central League, but they were rebuffed. The PIAA tried to force the Central League to add the teams, but the Central League sued and won. Thanks to the ruling in this suit, the PIAA has no power to re-align sports leagues. Only the leagues themselves can do so. (High school federations in many other states can re-shape sports leagues at will.)


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