A much-anticipated announcement from the California Interscholastic Federation regarding high school athletics yielded hope for upcoming seasons, but provided few details, choosing instead to defer decisions to the 10 individual sections.
In the statement released July 20, the CIF stated, “CIF has determined in collaboration with our 10 sections, that education-based athletics for the 2020-21 school year will begin with a modified season of sport schedule…Following this announcement, each CIF section office will release their own calendar to reflect regular season starting and ending dates and section playoffs. It is anticipated that most section start dates will commence in December 2020 or January 2021. ”
A calendar, which was also released, showed section playoff events for volleyball and cross country scheduled for mid-March 2021; football for early April; and soccer, the end of May; while basketball, golf, baseball, softball, tennis and track would extend beyond the regular school year into mid-June.
A communication from the Northern Section office to athletic directors also distributed on July 20, provided only slightly more information, indicating that school teams will begin both league and non-league play “when the member school districts’ county health officers approve the implementation of youth sports, including high school athletics.”
Uncertainty brought on by the spike of cases in some northern counties have precluded teams from conducting their regular spring and summer sessions, and will most likely create conflict for multi-sport athletes as the condensed time frame will see basketball, soccer, baseball, softball and track competing simultaneously.
The current ambiguity is hard not only on student-athletes, but a nightmare for athletic directors whose job it will be to create contacts for the various teams when it is deemed safe to do so.
For Pierce athletic director Michael Barber, while the lack of concrete direction from CIF is frustrating, the fact that there is a chance for competition is at least heartening.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be ideal no matter what, but to be able to offer all seasons of sport for kids was the goal. It’s going to be a busy spring, that’s for sure, “ said Barber.
Speaking for Williams, athletic director Dan McDonald touched on the difficulty in balancing safety while creating opportunities for athletes to play.
“I’m very disappointed for all the student-athletes. Football, cross country, volleyball and cheer were all looking forward to fall, but we are living in unprecedented times and remaining safe is a priority. That being said, we will be following the guidelines as laid out by CIF and the Northern Section,” McDonald stated.
So while a glimmer of possibility for a return to high school athletics has been provided, there still is a need for additional clarity.
Those interested in the progress should look to August 3, when the Northern Section CIF reopens its office after a summer hiatus and can hopefully offer some definitive news. ■