The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) recently announced that high school sports are on hold until 2021. This should have come as no surprise as college and professional sports (most notably football) have rescheduled or canceled games. January 1, 2021, is the official return date listed, but the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has not issued any new guidance on dealing with the pandemic.
Governing 1,605 member schools and more than 800,000 student-athletes, the CIF has canceled all regional and state tournament matches that would take place this fall as part of Season 1. It should also be noted that it rescheduled boy’s volleyball to begin in spring (during Season 2) because it lost half of its 2020 season. The CIF has not, however, completely shut the door on fall sports and may revisit the tournaments in the spring once the CDPH updates its guidelines. This could include football, water polo, cross country and volleyball.
Some question the timing
Some coaches, families and players have complained that the CIF made the cancelation announcement only a week before the tournaments were supposed to begin. According to Edison High athletic director Richie Lynch:
“We all saw it coming. To wait until a week before to say we’re pausing, that doesn’t seem very transparent to me. I know the CIF has the best intentions, but I don’t know if they understand the stress they are putting on kids and coaches and families by leaving things up in the air.”
The organizations did not directly address this complaint about the delayed decision, but it did explain its reasoning for letting the season play out: So student-athletes would have the full season, rather than a shortened one with a smaller selection of teams competing in regional and state events.
As with everything else involving the pandemic, the information seems to change often. So the final chapter on the 2020-2021 high school season is not yet written.