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San Diego high school and youth sports move closer to play

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Posted at 4:26 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 21:12:19-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – High school and youth sports are one step closer to hitting the field again.

On Wednesday, a Vista judge clarified a ruling from the previous week allowing indoor and outdoor sports to resume despite limitations by the state.

“A clearer picture was painted on exactly who was included in the TRO from last Friday and it was reaffirmed, all sports can play in San Diego County,” said Scripps Ranch football coach, Marlon Gardinera.

Under the ruling made on Feb. 19, high school and youth teams can resume play if they follow the same guidelines set for collegiate and professional sports that have been playing for months now. The biggest hurdle in that requirement is testing players 48-hours before games in high-contact sports like football.

RELATED: CIF says it will comply with judge's order to resume youth sports

Gov. Gavin Newsom has vowed to foot the bill for testing in counties that reach an adjusted daily average of 14 new cases per 100,000 residents. Gardenia says even though San Diego County doesn’t meet that threshold yet, the governor can’t fund testing for some student-athletes and not others.

“The judge said that is not legal,” said Gardinera. “That would be unequal protection under the law. That was not a requirement for colleges and pros so the judge made that requirement in San Diego County null and void.”

Gardinera says the state’s collegiate protocols for play are similar to what they’ve already been doing at the high school level.

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“Most of the schools already have protocols in place when it comes to reporting COVID-19, contact tracing, normal protocols,” said Gardinera. “The only additional measure is they will be testing prior to competition.”

The California Interscholastic Federation oversees high school sports. They’ve set Friday, Feb. 26 as the first practice date for football and soccer. Baseball, softball, and lacrosse are set to start on March 13.

In a press conference Wednesday, San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the ruling is unrealistic since funding and resources for youth programs cannot compete with what professionals have.

RELATED: California issues guidance to resume all outdoor sports during pandemic

"What it appears the judge said is that youth sports can resume consistent with college or professional sports, which is a standard that I don’t think any high school anywhere in America can meet," said Fletcher. "The standard that is put in place on our professional athletes is exceedingly high."

“I think the overwhelming majority of youth sports will be getting going again, but under the state guidance, not under this ruling that seems to hold them to a professional sports standard.”