Though it was expected, it wasn’t something high school athletes, parents and coaches wanted to hear: the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) announced on Monday, July 20 that all California high school fall sports seasons have been postponed. That, in turn, will create a ripple effect for the following seasons and, in fact, this year will see a dramatic shift in the high school sports landscape.
The rise in coronavirus cases in California has prompted decisions affecting students, athletes and educators, putting students and teachers back into distance learning mode to start the school year. Additionally, the CIF announced on Monday that there will be just two sports seasons for high school sports in the 2020-21 school year. The ‘fall’ sports season, or Season 1, will feature – for Oakdale – football, volleyball, water polo and cross country. Practices won’t begin until December.
The ‘Season 2’ or spring season, will feature the bulk of the school sports, everything from soccer, tennis, wrestling, baseball, softball, swimming, basketball, golf, track and field; all the sports the school offers aside from those being played during the ‘fall’ season starting in December.
Challenges will arise more for schools when they will be trying to juggle schedules and transportation for teams in Season 2, featuring squads that usually compete over two seasons, winter and spring.
As outlined by the CIF, the fall season will run from late December into April and the spring season will be staggered, beginning for some teams in February and potentially running into mid-June.
The CIF also issued a statement Monday, after making the announcement about the change in seasons, which impacts all 10 Sections in the state.
“We are continuously monitoring the directives and guidelines released from the Governor’s Office, the California Department of Education, the California Department of Public Health, and local county health departments and agencies as these directives and guidelines are followed by our member schools/school districts with student health and safety at the forefront,” the statement indicated. “As these guidelines change, CIF Sections may allow for athletic activity to potentially resume under the summer period rules of the local Section.”
Also on Monday morning the Sac-Joaquin Section released the schedule for each sport. According to the SJS, football can begin practice on Dec. 14 with the first scrimmage date scheduled for Dec. 31. The first contest date is scheduled for Jan. 8 and the end of the season scheduled for March 20, 2021. Cross country is scheduled for a Dec. 14 practice and a scrimmage on Dec. 22. Their first race is scheduled for Dec. 28 and last day is March 6, 2021. Water polo and volleyball are also scheduled for practice on Dec. 14, scrimmages on Dec. 22. First contest for water polo is Dec. 28; first volleyball contest is Dec. 29, with end dates on Feb. 26.
At OHS, multisport student-athletes are now faced with the task of choosing which sport to play if the new format disrupts their previous arrangements and plans.
Leader Sports Reporter Dennis D. Cruz contributed to this story.