The high school sports season, expected to start in less than two weeks, has been indefinitely delayed by the California Interscholastic Federation.
A statement released Tuesday afternoon by the CIF State office in Sacramento noted that the “continued surge in COVID-19 infections” has caused the California Department of Public Health to postpone the issuance of its updated youth sports guidance until after the new year.
“Thus, all full practice and competition start dates are officially on hold until updated guidance is issued,” the statement read.
The CIF had previously condensed its three seasons into two. Boys volleyball was set to begin on Dec. 12 and girls volleyball on Dec. 19. The CIF State office, however, announced on Tuesday that it’s moving the boys from Season 1 to Season 2 “to avoid the loss of a second full season.”
Other sports that were to begin competition this month were boys water polo (Dec. 21), cross country (Dec. 26) and girls water polo (Dec. 28). The opening weekend of the high school football season was set for Jan. 8.
The delay to those seasons also prompted the CIF to cancel all Regional and State Championship events from Season 1, noting that “more student-athletes will have the opportunity to participate in a longer season, rather than a truncated season with Regional and State post-season play for a limited number of schools.”
Regional and State competition for spring sports (Season 2) could still take place.
The CIF noted that its revision of the Season 1 calendar “offers our sections and leagues the flexibility and needed time to plan for the return to practice and competition once updated guidance is provided by the CDPH.”
San Marcos’ Abe Jahadhmy, the dean of local athletic directors, said the CIF’s move had been expected “after Santa Barbara and most of the California counties went into the purple tier two weeks ago.”
“I respect the fact that CIF is doing everything possible to have a fall season,” he added. “This gives our coaches and student-athletes hope for a season. That hope motivates them to continue working hard at practices.
“I am also glad at the decision to move boys volleyball back to spring. They deserve to have a full season.”
Dos Pueblos A.D. Dan Feldhaus said the implications for fall sports remain up in the air.
“While a majority of our students and coaches were anxious to return to action, we completely understand and support all efforts to keep our students, staff and school community safe,” he said. “We have several unanswered questions about what the delay means for each sport, but will be working with the Santa Barbara Unified School District staff and the other Channel League ADs to make the changes and adjustments to the sports calendar.”
Carpinteria High had already “self-cancelled” all of its December practices and contests, athletic director Pat Cooney said.
“(We) would not be able to provide this support during the winter break,” he pointed out.
He added that since football needs to practice in pads for two weeks, “the first half of the football season is in jeopardy.”