High school sports will not start as planned by the California Interscholastic Federation.
The state's governing body for prep sports anticipates that the California Department of Public Health will not issue guidance for youth and prep sports until Jan. 1, 2021 at the earliest.
The hope was for guidance to be released by the CDPH in mid-November, but it was postponed because of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the state. As of Tuesday, 52 of the 58 California counties have been placed in the “purple tier,” the most restrictive of the state's four-tiered reopening plan.
“Thus, all full practice and competition start dates are officially on hold until updated guidance is issued,” the CIF stated in a press release Tuesday.
CIF also announced the cancellation off its regional and state championships for traditional fall sports football, girls volleyball, cross country and water polo. This would allow for all student-athletes of these sports to at least compete in a full regular-season schedule. The alternative would have been to truncate regular seasons in order to fit CIF postseason events in which few athletes get to participate.
In addition, boys volleyball has been moved back to the “spring,” or season 2. Typically a spring sport, CIF moved it to season 1 to run concurrently with girls volleyball. Boys volleyball was among the spring sports to be cut short last March as the state began its coronavirus shutdown.
“Boys volleyball will be moved to Season 2 to avoid the loss of a second full season, and an updated Season 2 calendar to include boys volleyball will be posted in January,” CIF stated.
In July, state championship events were pushed back several months, and the CIF's 10 regional sections adjusted their fall, winter and spring schedules accordingly.
Practices for football and cross country were set to begin next Monday in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section, while the rest of the sports (boys/girls water polo, boys/girls volleyball, badminton) for the modified fall sports season — now called Season 1 — start Dec. 14. The football season was scheduled to kick off on Jan. 8. Season 2 combined winter and spring sports, with practices beginning in February and March.
New dates for the commencement of official practices and games will not be determined until CDPH provides guidance for youth sports.
“The CIF is confident this decision is a necessary and reasonable action for our member schools, student-athletes, and school communities in light of the current statewide crisis,” CIF stated. “This revision to the CIF State 2020-21 Season 1 Sports calendar offers our Sections and Leagues the flexibility and needed time to plan for the return to practice and competition once updated guidance is provided by the CDPH.”
In the meantime, teams are still allowed to hold conditioning and skill-building exercises while observing COVID-19 protocols. Manteca Unified's five high schools may resume training next Monday. Sports activities were suspended Nov. 18 after Weston Ranch's boys basketball team allegedly broke protocols in a practice that was filmed by a cell phone camera and shared on social media.