December 12 was supposed to be the start date for California high school sports. That’s not going to happen.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) was forced to make another difficult decision.
“After last week when things were continuing to go the wrong direction and we were getting closer to the December 12 date, we met as a group of commissioners (and decided) we can’t keep our schools in limbo here waiting for something to drop,” says Joe Heinz, CIF San Diego Section Commissioner.
The Governor’s office indicated no update would be likely before January 1 so the CIF decided to push the start date of their Season 1 sports, including football, to at least New Year’s Day. But, there’ still no guarantee the state will allow high school sporting events even by then.
“That’s the hardest part,” says Heinz. “Putting dates out there and getting people’s hopes up then not doing that. So, we’ve just got to stay positive that we’re going to hear some good news. We’re just doing everything we can to be prepared so when the state does give us the green light and says hey, sports can begin again, we’re ready to go.”
CIF San Diego Section has a full season schedule in place and can alter it if the Sports 1 season is delayed further. California has already eliminated the state playoffs tournaments and might have to ditch sectional post-seasons, as well. The goal right now is to simply give high school student-athletes, especially the senior classes, a chance to play again.
“Most folks are saying, 'hey, we couldn’t care less if there are no playoffs. Maybe we just get to play some league games. We either have a championship or don’t have a championship, we just want an opportunity to get out there and play.' I think most people, based on where we are right now, would even be happy with that,” says Heinz.
All the while, the schools and their athletics departments are working to stay ready for when they get the OK to play.
“I know sometimes parents and everyone think 'Hey, we’re not seeing the results, we’re not getting the green light to play.' But behind the scenes all those hard-working coaches and athletic directors are doing everything to get ready to go,” says Heinz. “Seeing them not give up hope and saying no matter what, we’re putting 110% into this knowing that we owe it to our kids, it’s important to keep up the effort, and again hope that something good happens and when it does, we’re not skipping a beat, we’re hitting the ground running.”
We will continue to provide updates on the San Diego high school sports seasons and, again hopefully, have good news soon.