CIF pushes 4 fall prep sports beginnings back until winter

The Davis High field hockey team works out in August 2019. Field hockey is one of the sports whose start time will be up to local officials, according to the latest CIF guidelines. Owen Yancher/Enterprise file photo

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CIF pushes 4 fall prep sports beginnings back until winter

Four fall high school sports seasons have been pushed back to winter starts by the California Scholastic Federation, while four other sports-season beginnings have been left to local section officials, the CIF announced Monday.

The edict came as the statewide athletic organization said the decision aims to put “student health and safety at the forefront.”

With COVID-19 cases spiking in California, CIF has been monitoring guidelines posted by the governor’s office, the California Department of Education, the state Department of Public Health and local public health and safety officials.

Among the sports postponed to December or early 2021 is football — as are girls and boys volleyball, cross country and water polo.

What now will be considered spring sports are basketball, wrestling, soccer, tennis and golf (all boys and girls teams). They’ll play simultaneously with the regular spring sports of track and field, baseball, boys golf, softball and swimming.

Fall competitive cheerleading, field hockey, gymnastics, skiing and diving are left to individual section consideration for title dates — as are sport cheerleading and lacrosse in the spring.

Today, San Joaquin Section officials — including Davis High Athletic Director Jeff Lorenson — met online to sort through many protocols and deadlines that CIF has left in the hands of its 10 statewide sections.

“They’re extending the summer period, which is essentially ‘you can do whatever you want as far as a sports team’ … up until the fall season,” explained Lorenson, meaning that prep athletes will be able to join outside-of-high school club teams for late-summer and fall schedules. It also means school leagues like fall baseball and passing leagues for football can be played out of sequence.

“The section office will supply more information … and we’ll get a better understanding of what that means today.

“After that, we will continue as (a school) to talk about do we stop now, do we continue with conditioning practices … and monitor,” Lorenson told The Enterprise. “So there’s a lot of question marks.”

CIF, explained Sac-Joaquin Section Associate Commissioner Will DeBoard, is responsible for providing schedules for championship playoffs. It also schedules contact and dead periods. De Board said most playoff periods will be cut down. He said the section would create more divisions, especially for football, to keep the postseason-participants numbers “still around 80.”

CIF waived the latter in its Monday announcement, giving individual sections a wide berth in determining their own courses of action.

Lorenson says anything from just moving existing schedules to December and January or tightening the length of a season is on the table.

Blue Devil football head coach Steve Smyte, whose team had joined a handful of other fall sports squads working out in anticipation of business-as-usual, says his players had this week off anyway.

“We’ll know more (about how we’re) handling the future after the section meets,” Smyte explained.

DHS was to have hosted Vacaville on Aug. 29 to open the traditional football campaign.

The last day for fall sports section championships is in March (April 10 for football).

Spring sports title chases end in May for swimming and diving, badminton, soccer and tennis, with wrestling, basketball, golf, baseball, softball and track ending in June. Dates for cheer and lacrosse will be determined by each section.

— Reach sports editor Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or call 530-320-4456.



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