BREAKING: CIF postpones fall sports, moves start of California high school sports season to December 2020

The CIF State office announced Monday morning that all three seasons of high school sports in California will be moved to later in the 2020-2021 school year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The three traditional high school sports seasons – fall, winter and spring – are now scheduled to be played between December and June and will be condensed into two seasons, fall and spring.

According to the CIF, “each CIF section office will release their own calendar to reflect regular season starting and ending dates and section playoffs. It is anticipated that most section start dates will commence in December 2020 or January 2021.”

The CIF is comprised of 10 sections, and all 10 sections are expected to announce their own dates for first practices, first contests and section championships as soon as possible.

The Southern Section immediately announced their sports calendar, which included football practice starting on Dec. 14.

The Northern Section released a statement Monday morning that said their schools can begin fall sports as soon as local county health department officials approve the return of youth and high school sports. If Northern Section schools are cleared to play in the fall — and decide to begin their season — it could result in their removal from the CIF State playoffs.

Here is the full announcement from the CIF. And here is the adjusted 2020-2021 sports calendar from the CIF:

The CIF canceled the state’s 2019-20 basketball championships on March 12. On April 3, they canceled the remainder of the 2020 spring sports season. Since then, competitive high school athletics in California have been at a standstill.

This summer, some private schools and public school districts have allowed socially distant football, volleyball and cross-country workouts. But following a surge in coronavirus cases across the state, many of the workouts stopped while schools waited for guidance from the CIF and public health officials on when it would be safe to return.

On July 13, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced new statewide restrictions halting all indoor dining and closing bars, zoos and museums. Under these measures, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange and Riverside Counties were forced to close gyms, houses of worship, hair salons, malls and other businesses immediately.

On Friday, Newsom announced new statewide rules stating that public and private schools in the 32 counties on the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list would start the school year with distance learning. That announcement came after Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified School Districts had already made the call to start the upcoming school year online only.

The Los Angeles County Health Department announced on July 13 that team sports in grades K-12 are unable to be played without physical distancing. That proclamation combined with the Governor’s distance learning mandate made a fall 2020 return to high school sports in California impossible.

State associations across the country are dealing with the same return to play challenge. The New Mexico Activities Association recently postponed their high school football and soccer seasons and will make a decision on other sports in the future. Washington and Oregon are expected to announce their 2020-2021 plans later this week.

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