High School Athletics Statewide will Be Divided into Two Seasons, the First Starting in mid-December
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
On Monday, the California Interscholastic Federation announced that the 2020 fall sports season will be delayed because of public health and safety concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CIF state office issued the following statement:
“CIF has determined, in collaboration with our 10 sections, that education-based athletics for the 2020-2021 school year will begin with a modified season of sport schedule. Our calendar reflects the season for each CIF sport and the last date for section championships and regional and state championships in those sports where a regional or state championship is currently offered. Each CIF section office will release its own calendar to reflect regular season starting and ending dates and section playoffs. It is anticipated that most section start dates will commence in December 2020 or January 2021.
“We are continuously monitoring the directives and guidelines released from the Governor’s Office, the California Department of Education, the California Department of Public Health and local county health departments and agencies as these directives and guidelines are followed by our member schools and school districts with student health and safety at the forefront. As these guidelines change, CIF sections may allow for athletic activity to potentially resume under the summer period rules of the local section. Also, given this calendar change, the CIF has temporarily suspended Bylaws 600-605 (Outside Competition) in all sports for the 2020-21 school year.”
CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti issued a notice confirming that students will be allowed to participate on an outside team at the same time they participate on their high school team. As per CIF Article 23, local schools, districts, leagues and sections may develop a more restrictive rule than that of the CIF state office.
The L.A. City Section, which is headquartered in Granada Hills and is comprised of 156 schools, among them Palisades High, released its own statement and calendar shortly after the state office:
“In conjunction with the state CIF and the 10 sections in California, the 2020 fall sports season has been delayed to December.
“The newly revised calendar reflects sports being divided into a fall and spring season. We hope our member schools will be given that opportunity from December through June. It will require continued flexibility and understanding on behalf of all parties and a willingness to work together to ensure we achieve that goal.
“The health, safety and well- being of our member schools and constituents is our No. 1 priority. We will continue to follow the recommendations and guidance of the California Department of Public Health as well as the County Public Health Department.
“Throughout this fluid situation it has always been the goal to give our student-athletes an opportunity to compete,” City Section Commissioner Vicky Lagos said. “These decisions took a tremendous amount of creativity, resilience, forward thinking and dedication, all while keeping the health and safety of student athletes and coaches at the forefront. The new schedule of dates for the City will continue to be a living document where revisions might be necessary as we navigate through these uncertain times. All dates and return to practice and competition will be predicated on the approval of the CIF, County Public Health Department, LAUSD and fellow charter organizations. Furthermore, summertime rules will be extended from when the school year begins in August or September through December and the beginning of fall sports. As schools open and students return, provided state and local health authorities deem it safe to do so, schools can begin their preseason preparations as they see fit, depending on what is allowed by health authorities in that time period. If the principal allows teams to represent member schools as school teams in the offseason, schools will be allowed to do so in the 2020-21 school year.”
The City calendar lists Dec. 14 as the first practice date for all fall sports. The first allowable contest for all sports except football will be Dec. 26. There will be no ‘zero week’ games for football and Week 1 games will be Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. City cross country championships will be March 20 and volleyball finals will be March 10-13. City football playoffs will begin March 19 and championship games will be April 9-10. The City’s calendar closely aligns with that of the Southern Section (San Luis Obispo to the San Diego County line) so intersectional contests will be possible.
The elimination of the winter season means that boys and girls volleyball and boys and girls water polo will both be played in the fall. The same will be true in the spring for boys and girls tennis, soccer, basketball and golf. City basketball finals are June 9-12 and baseball finals will be June 18-19.
“This calendar is with hopeful optimism,” City Sports Information Director Dick Dornan said. “We won’t know the status until around Thanksgiving. Basketball and wrestling are considered the highest risk sports at this time, so we pushed their start dates back as far as we could. It’s up to schools to evaluate the calendar sport by sport and work with league commissioners. Also, for the first time, athletes can play club and AAU at the same time as high school. They can also play more than one sport if they so choose.”
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