Following the announcement that the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) will delay the fall high school sports seasons due to the coronavirus until December or January come questions.
In July, CIF, the governing body in the state for high school sports, announced the fall sports will be delayed as the number of COVID-19 cases surged. With the sports seasons compressed it appears that athletes will have to make tough decisions to play one sport over another.
South Pasadena High’s Athletic Director Anthony Chan was asked explain how compacted seasons will affect athletes who have played multi sports in the past.
“We want to try to accommodate student-athletes as much as possible,” he explained. “Coaches have been in communication with me about student-athletes that they’d like to share. One example is baseball and basketball, where our coaches and I have been discussing how to have student-athletes on both teams. Our coaching staff wants to try our best to accommodate. That being said, it may be possible that it will be difficult to accommodate all cases; for example, some students might want to play in two team sports that have two matches a week. It may be difficult in that case for athletes to know what game plans or how we set up defensively etc. If they are constantly playing matches almost every day of the week. This would likely affect our lower level players, as they would not develop an understanding of our organized team play if they only play matches. Additionally, if matches continue to fall on the same day, it may be difficult as well. That being said, the coaching staff and I have been trying out best to find ways we can accommodate some of these athletes.
Chan also addressed the issue of athletes participating in two or three sports simultaneously. “I can’t foresee too many three simultaneous sports, as many of the three sport athletes will only have one season with two sports,” he said. “Coaches and student-athletes will be working with me to find ways to make it happen if it is possible.”
There are no CIF bylaws in playing two sports at one time, “The only one related is the 18-hour maximum per week for athletics with a match counting for 3 hours,” added Chan.
What the schedule change means for football players is the final day for regional and state championships won’t be played until April 17, 2021. Accordingly, CIF’s decision to push back fall sports falls comes on heels of the National Junior College Athletic Association and the state’s Community College Athletic Association announcement it will postpone its football season until the spring of next year.
The pause in athletics comes at a time when most public and private schools in California, including South Pasadena High, will start the academic year with distance learning.
“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,” reads a statement issued by CIF. “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.”
The Tigers’ athletic director said league schedules for the upcoming seasons are close to being completed, requiring” some proofreading and double checking” before they are released, adding: “The non-league matches are being rescheduled.”
The fall season, noted Chan, will begin on different dates in December and the spring season will start on different days in March. Fall regular season ends right before March and spring ends its regular season in June.
Chan recognizes student-athletes are anxious to showcase their talents, but asks for their patience during the pandemic. “As always,” he said, “stay ready. We are going through a very uncertain time and should we be able to compete, we want to be ready to go. The hope of some athletic competitions is exciting. The administrators and coaching staff are preparing for a return when and if we are given a green light.”
It’s a waiting game as CIF waits for the day when student-athletes can return to fields, courts and diamonds again. “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,” comes word from the organization. “As these guidelines change, CIF Sections may allow for athletic activity to potentially resume under the summer period rules of the local Section.”