Waiting Game

How an LAUSD Teachers’ Strike Impacts Pali High Winter Sports 

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

The high school winter sports season came to an abrupt halt Monday for tens of thousands of student-athletes in the Los Angeles Unified School District when the teachers’ union went on strike, the first by LA educators since a nine-day walkout in 1989. How will this strike impact the athletic programs at Palisades High?

City Section Sports Information Director Dick Dornan provided some answers in a phone interview last week: “There will be no after-school activities on LAUSD campuses, including practices and games for winter sports—which include boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, girls water polo and wrestling. Depending on the length [of the strike] there is a chance that some league standings won’t be complete and there will be an imbalanced number of games. Any game lost during the strike will have to be made up between whenever  the strike ends and the start of the playoffs. If not, it will be ruled a “no contest,” as if it were never played. There will be no forfeits. If it lasts  two days or a week, making up games is very doable. If it extends to two or three weeks, we may need to revise the playoff schedule to allow schools to make up games. Our first priority is getting all championship games in. To do that we may have to condense playoffs into one week.”

Dornan pointed out that the strike affects only LAUSD schools, not full charter schools like Palisades, Birmingham, El Camino Real and Granada Hills, which can still play games as scheduled, except those against LAUSD schools. Soccer and basketball finals are scheduled for Feb. 22-23, the girls water polo final is set for Feb. 14 and the LA City wrestling championships are Feb. 15-16.

Pali High Athletic Director John Achen confirmed that Dolphins squads are allowed to practice as normal. In addition, any nonleague or tournament games against CIF Southern Section or other non-LAUSD schools will still be played.

“The only concern is making sure we don’t exceed state rules for maximum allowable contests, but as of now none of our teams are near that,” Achen said. “Obviously, we won’t be able to play league games until the strike is officially over. When that happens, we would resume playing our league games as scheduled, then look for the next available open date to make up whatever games were missed.”