CIF delays high school football, other sports until 2021

Canyon's Jarrett Reeser prepares to kick a field goal in a scrimmage against Ventura at Canyon High School on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Haley Sawyer/The Signal
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After much speculation, the California Interscholastic Federation announced Monday that the fall high school sports season will be delayed until 2021 amid the ongoing pandemic, with football practices starting in December and games delayed until January. 

The CIF Southern Section revised its calendar from the typical three seasons to a two-season model where teams will play during the winter and spring months, with no reduction on the number of maximum allowable contests in each sport. 

“The reason for that was to help with the overlap of sports, trying to have some separation between the two seasons to allow for dual-sport athletes, for coaches that coach more than one sport and for maximizing the utilization of school facilities,” said CIF-Southern Section Commissioner Rob Wigod during an online news conference. 

Under the revised schedule, the first game for most football teams would be Jan. 8, 2021, with practice starting Dec. 14. Other fall sports, such as cross country, volleyball and water polo, will now start in late December and early January. 

As of Monday’s announcement, the CIF sports calendar calls for regional or state football playoffs to take place April 17 and section playoffs April 10. For all other rescheduled fall sports, the last day would take place anywhere between March 20 and April 17. 

Sports such as baseball, softball, track and field, and golf are listed in the spring schedule with practices starting in March and seasons concluding in May or June. Winter sports, such as basketball, soccer and wrestling, are now combined in the spring category and will begin in March as opposed to their typical start in November. 

The announcement did not come to a surprise to some Santa Clarita Valley coaches, including Saugus High School football coach Jason Bornn. 

“You’re not going to have kids in school full-time without masks and without social distancing,” he said. “It makes it really tough to have extracurricular activities so we kind of knew that was going to happen. At this point, we can remain optimistic that we get this under control and that we’ll be able to return in December.” 

Amid the uncertainty of what would happen, the Saugus football team prepped for its summer camp, which was set to start July 6, with workouts via Zoom but stopped after the William S. Hart Union High School District announced camps would be delayed until further notice due to growing safety concerns around COVID-19. 

“When our district said, ‘Let’s pause on that,’ we just made the decision that we’re just going to give our kids two weeks off to really just enjoy themselves over the summer and just relax, not worry about anything because, again, we didn’t know what was going to happen on (Monday),” said Bornn, adding that, with a detailed, revised schedule, “we can now start planning what our semester’s going to look like.” 

In the Santa Clarita Valley, two school districts, the William S. Hart Union High School District and the Castaic Union School District, have already announced that they will be using an online format for the beginning of the 2020 fall semester/trimester. 

In a news release Monday, CIF officials said decisions are based on directives and guidelines issued by the Governor’s Office, the California Department of Education, the California Department of Public Health and local county health departments and agencies. 

The announcement comes shortly after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday that 33 counties, including Los Angeles County, will not be allowed to reopen for on-campus classes until they have not been on the state’s coronavirus watch list for 14 days consecutively. 

For the complete 2020-21 sports schedule, visit cifstate.org. 

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