State CIF pushes back guidelines to start of athletics

SACRAMENTO — Due to the continued surge in COVID-19 infections, the California Department of Public Health has postponed the issuance of its updated youth sports guidance. The California Interscholastic Federation does not expect the CDPH will issue any guidance allowing for schools to return to full practice and competition until after January 1, 2021, at the earliest. Thus, all full practice and competition start dates are officially on hold until updated guidance is issued.


Originally, fall sports were to begin Dec. 7 for football and Dec. 9 for all other sports. However, that is now on hold.


Therefore, to provide the 10 CIF Sections, our 1,605 member schools, and more than 800,000 student-athletes the best opportunity to compete in Season 1 Sports, once allowed by the CDPH and local county offices of public health, the CIF State Office is removing all Regional and State Championship events from the Season 1 (Fall Sports) Sports calendar. By canceling Regional and State Championship events, more student-athletes will have the opportunity to participate in a longer season, rather than a truncated season with Regional and State post-season play for a limited number of schools.


Additionally, boys volleyball will be moved to Season 2 (Winter Sports) to avoid the loss of a second full season, and an updated Season 2 calendar to include boys volleyball will be posted in January.


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. 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.


Comments from Madera Unified School District Director of Athletics, Marty Bitter


“Now the stance is the governor’s office is not allowing competitive sports to play. The practices have been moved. The new date has not been determined. After Jan. 1, it will be re-evaluated to where we’re at in positivity rate with the COVID-19 pandemic.


“For the fall sports season, the state elminated playoff games to create space on the back end to help the other sports.


“They reason they moved boys volleyball to Season 2 was if fall sports doesn’t get to compete, boys volleyball would be the only sport not to have played for two seasons. They moved it so they have a better chance to play.


“We can’t practice, but we will continue workouts in our pods. Although currently, we haven’t been in workouts. We stopped workouts Nov. 17 because of the upspike.


“In order to get this back, we have to follow protocols to get this thing moving. If we stay where we’re at, you’re going to see stuff fall off on the back end. If we move back, we might have to get rid of section championships.


“The end goal is to get as many contests as we can.”

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