Pennsylvania's Catholic bishops forbid boys to wrestle girls

(Reuters) - Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic bishops have adopted a policy requiring boys on the wrestling teams of Catholic schools or youth organizations to forfeit matches against female opponents.

Preserving safety and modesty are the reasons, said Joe Aponick, communications director for the Diocese of Harrisburg.

The mandatory policy, first reported on Tuesday by WITF, National Public Radio’s Harrisburg station, also bans girls from participating on Catholic school tackle football and rugby teams.

I don’t see a problem with the policy but I bet the media will have a hey day. That said I never had a daughter that wanted to wrestle, play football or rugby so maybe I’d feel differently.


I think it is a good policy. If girls want to wrestle it should be with another female. I think a lot of the co-ed trends are going a little to far, so am glad to see this rule in Pennsylvania.

Good…for obvious reasons.


While it is true that there would be a large number of evenly matched boy and girl wrestlers, I would be shocked if there were co-ed wrestling matches. At the top of level of competition the strength advantage afforded to men is too much to overcome. Co-ed just wouldn’t make sense.

I remember when we would wrestle in 7th and 8th grade gym class, the boys would wrestle and the girls would play volleyball (and sometimes watch the “matches” we had in class with the boys).

But the girls did not wrestle and did not wrestle other girls either. And as far as I remember, no girl wanted to wrestle.

Trying to remember what grade, we had one gym teacher who had us girls also wrestle as part of our class. He was a wrestling coach. I think we girls wrestled other girls. We had to learn the starting position, at least.

I didn’t really like wrestling. I mean, I was okay watching my brothers wrestle, but I didn’t want to. I only did it because it was a requirement.

I’m glad girls aren’t to wrestle boys. It’s inappropriate, and also they are stronger. So, it’s unfair.

Interesting, my experience was far different. At both my junior and senior high schools, many girls wanted to wrestle. Including me, who ended up joining my senior high school wrestling team. :thumbsup:

In competition, girls and boys did not wrestle each other, but occasionally that would happen during team practice. I was by far the lightest girl on the team (all of the other girls were in a far different weight class than me) so I was often paired with the lightest guy. I would win matches against him frequently as wrestling is as much technique as it is strength.

So personally, I don’t see the big deal with co-ed wrestling, provided that they are of a similar weight class, and that it is properly done and supervised. I can, however, understand the concern. If there had been a girl my size to practice against, that would have been preferable. But in my case, that was not possible, so co-ed wrestling was my only option if I wanted to wrestle competitively.

You mean there are places where high school boys wrestle girls???
Wow, I sure grew up in the wrong era! :wink:

:stuck_out_tongue: Well, to be fair, that was unusual.

Back when my son was in wrestling before high school, some girls were on some of the opposing teams. It was disruptive to tournaments because most of the boys, including my son, refused to wrestle girls and would forfeit the match rather than do it.

I realize technique matters, but strength does too. My son was stronger than he was skilled, relative to some of the others, and it was not unusual for him to simply overpower a more skillful opponent.

I hope the policy clearly defines “boy” and “girl” and the procedures for determining that.

Well as I mentioned, boys and girls were segregated in tournaments. My experience with co-ed wrestling was strictly team practice, and it was only done out of necessity.

Strength indeed does matter too, which is why I could not wrestle the other girls on the team. They were far bigger and I was not strong enough to go against them. I was able to defeat the light weight boy on our team but I could not defeat the girls once.

Boys of course are stronger overall but some girls are stronger than some boys (which I think was the case with me, though my technique did help as well).

Seems obvious from a standpoint of decency and propriety. Wrestling involves intimate physical contact with body parts that simply should not be done across sexes.



Very wise and sane decision.

Even if no one followed this policy, they would soon find out why females against males would never work in wrestling, from a competitive standpoint. The girls would never win. Ever. As a submission grappler, Ive seen women with very extensive training who are high level get dominated by males with very little technique and experience, even males who are smaller than them and seemingly physically inferior in most aspects (height, weight, cardio).

:shrug: This is not necessarily true. Please see my previous posts on this thread about my own wrestling experience. I know it is rare, but surely I cannot be the only female ever to defeat a male in a wrestling match (though this was not at an official tournament but rather at practice). I suppose he could have been going easy on me, but he always seemed frustrated whenever I won, so who knows?

You obviously have way more experience in the sport of wrestling than I do, but I am just stating what I experienced. It is obviously not the norm for females to defeat males in wrestling, but it is not altogether impossible.

I read the NYT article on this topic

Their slant is to be expected. They quoted a lawyer from the “Women’s Law Project”:

Asked on Wednesday about the new policy, Terry L. Fromson, a lawyer with the Women’s Law Project who represented the Beattie family in its case, said in a statement, “The Harrisburg Archdiocese relies on stereotypical generalizations about the differences between girls and boys and notions about safety and propriety that simply don’t stand up.”

I did try to find a NYT article on this related subject that I read about a couple of years ago, but could not… where a stir was caused when a boy was playing on a girls field hockey team and was banned for being too good.

My point is this: the left is all for equality…in one direction. They seem to be OK with girls competing in sports normally reserved for boys, but somehow seem to have issues with boys competing in sports normally reserved for girls.

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