Sac-Joaquin Section Commissioner Michael Garrison announced in a memo released to media on Friday that the playoffs for “Season 1” sports football, girls volleyball and water polo have been cancelled.
This comes four days after the California Department of Public Health unveiled its much-anticipated guidelines for the return of youth and high school sports, which delays the start of Season 1 and imposes county-to-county travel restrictions.
The SJS is leaving the possibility open for “bowl games” to be held for girls volleyball and water polo on March 20 and football on April 16-17. There may still be a postseason for cross country, but the section plans to evaluate this in mid/late January. The Season 2 sports schedule remains unchanged.
“We are of the belief that the chance to play more sports contests outweighs the possibility for a postseason,” Garrison stated in the memo. “With the guarantee that Season 1 will be starting late, the SJS will forego a traditional postseason to allow all our schools a chance to participate in more contests.”
Inter-squad competitions for some sports may begin Jan. 25, 2021 at the earliest, according to the CDPH, which will re-evaluate that date on Jan. 4.
Sports that the CDPH categorize as “outdoor low-contact” — such as cross country, golf and swimming — are among those that can take place in counties still under the most restrictive purple tier in the state’s reopening plan. Baseball and softball may be played in counties that move into the red tier; football, volleyball and soccer are in the orange tier; and basketball and wrestling in the yellow.
Back in July, the California Interscholastic Federation pushed its traditional fall sports schedule to the winter, squeezing three seasons worth of athletics into two. The hope was to hold first practices for football on Dec. 7 and kick off the regular season on Jan. 8, 2021.
Under CDPH’s current guidelines, high-contact sports like football and basketball appear to be long shots to take place this academic school year.
“The guidelines as presented by the CDPH are not what was recommended by the CIF Sports Medicine Advisory Committee; that request was to have all sports conducted in the red tier,” Garrison stated. “The CIF will continue to advocate with the CDPH with the hopes for a little more leniency to allow more of our sports to be played. We are asking for the chance to be able, to play all of our sports, and I assure you that we will continue to advocate for that cause!”