SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s governing body for high school sports announced Monday that the youth athletic schedule will be pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic and new rules on reopening campuses.
The California Interscholastic Federation said seasons will not begin until at least December 2020 or January 2021.
The announcement comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an education order that will keep most schools across the state from holding in-person classes at the start of fall.
“In releasing a new sports calendar, the state’s governing body for high school sports might be giving the state’s more than 800,000 athletes their best opportunity to have a sports season in the 2020-21 school year,” columnist Eric Sondheimer wrote for the Los Angeles Times.
Now each of the state’s 10 sections will release their own sports schedules built around the CIF calendar. Principals and athletic directors are expected to meet with their coaches this week to devise a plan, the L.A. Times reports.
“Today’s announcement from the state office provides our section with the information necessary to finalize the calendars and schedules for all of our CIF regulated sports, while also acknowledging the importance of the health and safety of our student athletes and coaches by pushing the official start date back,” the San Diego section of CIF wrote in a statement shortly after the delay became public.
Local coaches and athletes said they were OK with the delayed start and relieved that they will be allowed to play.
Shane Goodwin, the head football coach for Tri-City Christian School said there are plenty of silver linings to focus on, like extra time to prepare.
“I’m personally excited. I never feel like I’m ready enough,” Goodwin said.
And Goodwin’s players said they are happy they’re getting a full season.
“I’m playing a whole season: 10 games, play-off. We’re going to win the championships, I already know. Calling it,” said rising junior football player Isaiah Edwards.
One of the challenges Goodwin is anticipating is sharing football players with other spring sports.
“We’ve got to remember as our season’s coming to an end, those (sports) are going to be three, four, five weeks into their season. Also so, we’re going to have to share kids with them and find a very creative way to be more efficient,” Goodwin said.
It’s still unclear exactly what kind of practice will be allowed during the fall semester. Tyler Roach, head football coach at La Jolla High School, said he hopes to shift training that would have taken place during the summer to the fall.
“Basically what we lost in the spring and the summer in preparation, could we do some of those activities in the fall?” asked Roach. “As a coach naturally that’s where my mind goes is obviously the safety most importantly, but if we can do things safely can we make up for some lost time.”
Roach said he is excited there will still be a full season to play, which means if all goes well, the football team’s schedule will stay the same.
“We’re excited about the schedule we have. I know our players are,” Roach said. “At one point, you probably have a couple games circled that really stand out, and I think now with everything we’ve gone through, shoot we have all 10 circled, because you take those lessons of how fast it can be taken from you.”