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CIF pushes high school sports season back to December or January

This move means the majority of ‘next-level’ California athletes who have plan to play football at the FBS level, have likely played their last high school game

The state of California’s governing body for high school sports has officially pushed back the return of high school sports to at least December or even January, the California Interscholastic Federation announced on Monday.

According to a release from the CIF, the anticipated start dates for most Sections to start will commence in December 2020 or January 2021.

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has determined, in collaboration with our 10 Sections, that education-based athletics for the 2020-2021 school year will begin with a modified season of sport schedule (see below for 2020-21 sports calendar). Our calendar reflects the season for each CIF sport and the last date for Section Championships and Regional/State Championships in those sports where a Regional/State Championship is currently offered. Following this announcement, each CIF Section Office will release their own calendar to reflect regular season starting and ending dates and Section playoffs. It is anticipated that most Section start dates will commence in December 2020 or January 2021.

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. As these guidelines change, CIF Sections may allow for athletic activity to potentially resume under the summer period rules of the local Section. Also, given this calendar change, the CIF has temporarily suspended Bylaws 600-605 (Outside Competition) in all sports for the 2020-21 school year (see below for more specific information related to these changes).

The release notes that the last day for section playoffs in each of the following sports are now set:

Volleyball: March 13, 2021
Water Polo: March 13, 2021
Cross Country: March 20, 2021
Football: April 10, 2021

And has subsequently given us the dates for the last day of section playoffs for the following spring sports:

Badminton: May 22, 2021
Soccer: May 29, 2021
Swimming & Diving: May 29, 2021
Tennis: May 29, 2021
Wrestling: June 5, 2021
Basketball: June 12, 2021
Golf: June 12, 2021
Baseball: June 19, 2021
Softball: June 19, 2021
Track & Field: June 19, 2021

“This is the best possible plan we have with what’s going on to give students an opportunity to participate,” said Vicky Lagos, the Los Angeles City Section commissioner. “There are going to be issues in terms of facilities and multiple-sport athletes, but this is the best scenario for the most people. I have confidence the schools and coaches will work it out among themselves. My take from coaches is they want the opportunity to participate and be with the kids.”

How this pertains to the UCLA Bruins is now another thing. How it pertains to the entire landscape of major college athletics, mainly football, is really where this gets interesting. While the move ensures that we have at least some target start date and end date for the athletic seasons in high school sports, it make no guarantees that highly-recruited players and even those that have verbally committed to a university from the state will ever play their sport again.

With the growing number of athletes that sign their National Letters of Intent for college football in December, the high school football season is not likely to begin before the new ‘Signing Day’ comes on December 18.

That actually means the majority of senior athletes have already played their last high school football game.

And that means that the college coaches are going to have to go even more so off junior and underclass tape for these recruits.

Principals and athletic directors are expected to meet with coaching staffs this week and devise a plan of attack at the high school, county and section level, and safety protocols are still in need of being set in place before any high school can return cleared for games let alone practices.

We’ll keep everyone apprised as anything arises with the current UCLA signees and those that have offers as well as other big-time targets in the area, as this is a developing story.