SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- High school sports in San Diego County and across California will happen during the 2020-21 school year but on a modified schedule that will push the start for fall sports, such as football, to early winter.
The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Monday released a schedule that shows the last date for Section and Regional/State Championships. Fall sports' championships, according to the schedule, shows end dates in March and April. The schedule shows spring sports, including soccer, basketball, and track and field, with championship end dates in May and June.
CIF officials said that “most Section start dates will commence in December 2020 or January 2021.”
In a press release posted on its website, the CIF San Diego Section said:
The California Interscholastic Federation, San Diego Section (CIF-SDS) is excited to see the foundations of a plan to return high school athletics throughout the state of California for the 2020-2021 school year. Today’s announcement from the state office provides our section with the information necessary to finalize the calendars and schedules for all of our CIF regulated sports, while also acknowledging the importance of the health and safety of our student athletes and coaches by pushing the official start date back to align with the Roadmap to Recovery set by the state of California.
Specifics of the plan provides for two seasons of sport, which will serve to maximize the length of each season while not eliminating any athletic opportunities in a reduced athletic calendar for the year. The adjusted calendar distributes the athletic offerings into a Fall/Winter Season, and a Spring Season in hope of balancing the opportunities for all student athletes.
In collaboration with our Board of Managers, Conference Presidents, Sport Specific Advisory Committees and Officials Association, we will be coming together over the next couple weeks to finalize the dates and schedules for each of the seasons of sport for our section. We understand that this has been a difficult period of time for our student athletes, coaches, athletic administrators, and parents with so much uncertainty and information changing on a daily basis.
With a plan in place, we look forward to continuing to collaborate with leaders from across our section and state as we prepare for the start of the 2020-2021 athletic year.
The decision to modify the high school sports schedule comes days after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced reopening guidelines for schools across the state.
Scripps Ranch High School head football coach Marlon Gardinera was one of many parents, coaches, and players who constantly checked the state CIF website Monday morning for any word on the fall sports season.
"We were waiting with bated breath,” Gardinera said.
After learning there will be an opportunity for kids, including his high school senior and freshman sons, to play, Gardinera said, “It really gives us hope ... as opposed to not having a lot of it, really hard to do when you have two sons who are ready to get back out here.”
The modified scheduling will force many student-athletes to choose between sports normally played successively.
Gardinera told ABC 10News, “You have soccer and baseball ... [They’re] going to have to choose what sport they're going to want to play in that condensed season.”
Otay Ranch High School football player Ethan Knight is excited that there is now a plan in place. "My birthday's in January, so it will be a good birthday present. I think it's great because it will be a new environment."
Knight said he has used the months during the pandemic to train for the upcoming season. He said the delay will just give him more time to prepare.
Student-athletes may be able to participate in a club sport on top of their chosen school sport, as bylaws will be changed to allow for that.
Gardinera said he is hoping parents will visit LetFamiliesDecide.org so they can learn the latest news as well as keep in contact with school and CIF officials.