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By Jeff Pack
Staff Writer 

CIF-San Diego Section sports season put on hold

 

Last updated 12/7/2020 at 11:22am

Village News/Courtesy of Shelby Ahrend

Sports designated for Season 1 of the San Diego CIF-San Diego Section season have been put on hold until new guidelines are put in place by the California Department of Public Health.

Dec. 12 was expected to be a big day for high school athletes all over San Diego County, but that big day is going to have to wait according to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) - San Diego County.

The section on Thursday, Dec. 3 issued a memo regarding earlier communication that the organization had days earlier with member schools regarding the postponement of Season 1 Sports in the county.

"As of today, the Official Start Date for Season 1 Sports is on hold (TBD) until the point updated Youth Sports guidance is released from the California Department of Public Health," the memo, sent by Commissioner Joe Heinz and Assistant Commissioner Todd Cassen, said. "Based upon the current guidance released from the State on August 3, 2020, competitions are not allowed in youth sports (high school), all practices are limited to conditioning/skill improvement, and must remain within a stable cohort of 14 student athletes or less."

The release stated that California Governor Gavin Newsom and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) disclosed that updated youth sports guidance had been postponed.

"Therefore, the current guidance remains in effect, and CIF competitions are not allowed until new guidance is provided," the release reads.

The release said that they don't expect those new guidelines before the early days of January.

For context, high school football teams were supposed to play their first games on Jan. 8 and begin officially training in December. Now, it looks as though the earliest they could begin competing would be early to mid-February.

"As was stated at the beginning of this memo, we simply do not have the required guidance to officially open a season for any of our Season 1 Sports at this time," the memo reads.

The section has been in contact with CDPH to establish parameters for reopening the season.

"Based upon the limited information we have received at this time, it is our understanding that the return of each sport will be tied to an associated risk level, and then placed within one of the four Tier Assignments aligned to the Covid-19 Positivity Case Rates for each county found in the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy," the memo reads.

It said that sports that are deemed a lower risk level will be able to begin practicing and competing, even if the county in which they are located is within the most restrictive purple tier.

San Diego County is in the purple tier currently and under a three-week stay at home order.

Other sports, deemed more high risk, would have to wait until the county recedes into red, orange or yellow tiers for competition to begin.

"It is our understanding that the updated guidance will include a sport-by-sport breakdown of various health and safety protocols to be implemented at each school site that incorporates the differences found in each specific sport," the memo reads. "For example, recommendations for basketball will differ from those designed for cross country, lacrosse, football, etc."

Section leadership proposed and the board of managers approved increased flexibility for member schools under State Bylaw 501.G., "enabling schools to host out of season practices/activities based solely upon the approval of the site principal or designee."

Village News has reached out to Fallbrook Union High School for clarification on when a decision might be made amongst school leadership and/or the North County Conference, and Athletic Director Pat Walker said a meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 9 would go a long way to the school having a better understanding of what that entails.

The section board also approved a waiver for this year only that would allow a student athlete to participate in up to three sports during a current season.

"Due to the movement of several sports into seasons one and two from their normal season," the memo reads. "The current practice limitations of 18 hours per week and four hours per day will remain in place, even with this new modification to the maximum number of allowable sports in a season."

The board of managers also approved a proposal giving Commissioner Joe Heinz the authority to set the official start date of seasons for all sports, determine the length of each season, final playoff dates, and playoff seeding, structures and formats for each sport.

"We understand that the lack of detailed information has done nothing but increase the levels of frustration for everyone involved in supporting education-based athletics. From our student-athletes and coaches, athletic administrators, officials, and our parents, everyone has continued to wait patiently while holding out hope that our seasons of sport would return as scheduled," the memo reads.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at [email protected]

 

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