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CIF waives bylaws, allowing athletes to play multiple sports
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High school athletes no longer have to pick one team over the other for the academic year. 

The California Interscholastic Federation announced Wednesday that athletes may once again play multiple sports for their schools in the same season. They are also allowed to compete on club and high school simultaneously with one exception — football.

The state's governing body for high school sports has again reversed course on the implementation of Bylaws 600-605 that prohibit student-athletes from competing with club and high school teams at the same time.  

CIF temporarily suspended these rules over the summer to make up for seasons cut short by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, giving athletes more opportunities to play. 

Last month, however, CIF restored the bylaws to remain in lockstep with California Department of Health Department guidelines released in December. On top of reintroducing Bylaws 600-605 on outside competition, CIF temporarily banned simultaneous multi-sport participation because of CDPH's stance on cohorting. There is otherwise not a rule against student-athletes playing multiple sports in the same season. 

Regarding multi-team participation, CDPH guidelines state, “Athletes and coaches should cohort by team and refrain from participating with more than one team over the same season or time period.”

CIF has since sought clarification on the wording used by CDPH and got its answer this week.

“We have confirmed that their specific language regarding cohorting and multi-team participation is not a mandate, but a recommendation,” CIF stated in a press release. “Therefore, effective immediately, the CIF is reinstating its waiver of Bylaws 600-605. The only exception is the sport of football.”

CIF added “students will not be allowed to participate on a high school football team and a club football team at the same time,” citing recommendations from the CIF Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, state laws on full-contact practice limitations and other safety regulations.”

In counties where football is allowed at some point this academic year, players who have already competed on club football teams will retain eligibility with their schools. 

Here in San Joaquin County, only competitions for cross country, golf, swimming, tennis and track and field are the only sports allowed. Six of the seven Manteca-area schools are competing in the Valley Oak League for this academic year, and its Season 1 sports (girls golf, boys tennis, cross country, swimming) begin official competition next week.