CIF Evaluating All Options for Fall Season

Photo by Raymond Quan / OUTLOOK
CIF State officials remain hopeful of a fall athletic season and will soon release a “return to participation” guideline for all sections and member schools.

As the nation adjusts to living with COVID-19 and Gov. Gavin Newsom eases the restrictions of his Stay at Home order, the possibility of reopening school campuses and restarting athletics grows by the day.
The National Federation of State High School Associations recently published a 16-page document recommending how state governing boards — such as the California Interscholastic Federation — should approach the reinstatement of sports.
The CIF State Federal Council acknowledged those guidelines during a virtual meeting last Friday and is preparing its own “return to participation” document, which will be released after all of the CIF’s section commissioners convene on June 9.
“The message I want to convey to all of you is that all options for fall, winter and spring sports are being considered and are on the table,” CIF Southern Section Commissioner Rob Wigod recently said in a statement. “We want to give every consideration we can to be able to provide all three seasons of sport to our member schools and all our stakeholders that are viable, meaningful and include championship competition.
“We do not want to rush to judgment in either direction by canceling seasons of sport prematurely or having sports return before it is safe for them to do so. With that in mind, we will continue to stay current on this ever-changing situation and do everything we can to assist our member schools in restoring education-based athletics programs when the time is right.”
In a recent update from CIF-SS, Wigod said the decisions to reopen campuses and bring back athletics ultimately fall on officials who are authorized to make those decisions, such as local districts and private school boards.
“When to start school will be completely up to those local entities,” he added. “I am sure they will follow the recommendations of state and local health authorities in arriving at decisions that are in the best interests of their students and school communities.”
The Southern Section has not adopted a new schedule for the 2020-21 year and currently has its original calendar in place. Wigod said revisions will be made once there are enough schools and athletic programs back on campus.
“That is going to be our organization’s biggest challenge, in a section as large as ours with 563 member high schools,” he stated. “We have a wide variety of school start dates that our member schools have adopted this fall, and there will also be a wide variety of start dates for athletic programs to return to our schools. There are all kinds of potential calendars ready to go, but until we have enough schools and athletic programs back in place, none of those calendars are realistic, nor can they be implemented.”
The discourse on reopening local schools is ongoing, according to South Pasadena High School Athletic Director Anthony Chan.
“We’ve had discussion among our Rio Hondo League athletic directors and administrators; however, we do not have an answer on a specific date of return,” Chan said in an email. “CIF is a large entity, so what might occur in the rural areas of California might not be the same as being in L.A. County, San Bernardino County, Orange County, etc. Our county health departments may have differing policies, so even among varying leagues and CIF divisions, there may be differing policies.”
The league is hopeful about a fall season as professional sports leagues announce returns but understands that these are unprecedented times and “nothing is set in stone.”
“Though professional and collegiate sports are looking to return quickly, at the high school level we are unable to create an environment similar to those levels where they would have testing readily available and, in some cases, teams living separately from a general population,” Chan added.