The CIF San Diego Section has set dates for the resumption of some high school sports under its jurisdiction.
At the same time, the organization, which governs high school sports in California, is expressing concern about a recent lawsuit prohibiting enforcement of orders preventing children from participating in high school or youth sports.
In a news release issued by CIF, San Diego Section Commissioner Joe Heinz and Assistant Commissioner Todd Cassen said practice for football and boys and girls soccer can begin on Friday.
The news is welcome relief for students athletes like Sebastian McQuigg, 17, a senior football player at Patrick Henry High School.
“We’re all pumped," McQuigg said. "Our coaches, players -- the whole school is excited, and I’m happy to be a part of it."
McQuigg, who is bound for UNLV to play football, expressed concern about the postponement of the high school season and his inability to showcase his athletic talent to college recruiters.
“It was a continuous spiral downward," McQuigg said. "The uncertainty of us not having a season killed my spirit alot, and same thing for a lot of kids. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to go to college, the college that I wanted to go to."
While practice for football and soccer can begin Friday, Cassen said in the news release that there still cannot be any physical contact until the county case rate drops below 14 per 100,000 residents. As of Tuesday, the case rate was at 15.
The expectation is the case rate number will continue to drop and the football season can begin with an abbreviated six-game spring season starting March 11.
In addition, according to the news release, baseball, softball, and boys and girls lacrosse are set to open their seasons on March 13.
Boys and girls water polo are now scheduled to begin practices April 17.
The announcements come just days after a San Diego Superior Court judge granted a temporary restraining order allowing youth and high school sport participation "as long youths follow the same or similar COVID-19 protocols used for competition in professional and/or collegiate sports within the county.”
In response, the CIF San Diego Section suggested the order could create access and equity issues: “The order obtained by the plaintiffs appears to require our member schools to apply the more rigorous and costly COVID-19 protocols of our local San Diego professional and intercollegiate sports teams.”
“This decision may have unintentionally increased the costs of COVID-19 protocols for our member schools,” the news release continued. “Equally concerning is the real prospect that the order will create a two-tiered system within the section whereby communities and schools with the financial means are able to comply with the COVID-19 protocols of professional and intercollegiate sports teams, while those communities and schools without the financial means to fund such protocols will be left unable to meet the requirements of the order.”
In announcing the start dates for the selected sports, the CIF San Diego Section also issued safety protocols for players and coaches. For example, football players and coaches must test negative 24 hours before game time.
And in soccer: No handshakes, high-fives or fist bumps.