After the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released its updated sports guidelines on Dec. 14, the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section released its own outline as to what to expect with high school athletics over the next couple of months.
“The guidelines as presented by the CDPH are not what was recommended by the CIF Sports Medicine Advisory Committee; that request was to have all sports conducted in the red tier,” Sac-Joaquin Section commissioner Michael S. Garrison said in an official email. “The CIF will continue to advocate with the CDPH with the hopes for a little more leniency to allow more of our sports to be played. We are asking for the chance to be able to play all of our sports, and I assure you that we will continue to advocate for that cause.”
Perhaps the biggest change has been the cancellation of any state and regional playoffs for football, water polo and volleyball. The section would rather those sports get to play a full schedule and start later, rather than cut regular season games in order to fit a postseason. Instead of playoffs, bowl games will be played instead.
Because of this, there are new end dates for water polo, volleyball and football. The end of the regular season for volleyball and water polo will be March, while the end of the football regular season is April 10. The bowl game dates for volleyball and water polo is March 20 and April 16-17 for football. The status of bowl games will be evaluated by the Sac-Joaquin section office on Jan. 25.
As for cross country, its postseason will be evaluated in mid- to late January.
The Sac-Joaquin section hopes that some of the guidelines made by the CDPH will be more lenient when the revaluation takes place on Jan. 4. But should another delay take place, the section does not plan on making any changes to Season 1. With the loss of spring sports in early 2020, the section does not want to lose another year of those sports.
“Some have asked about shuffling seasons to allow for more sports to be played,” Garrison said. “We do not see this as a viable option at this time, because we don’t know exactly when our schools will be able to contest sports again. We do not want to jeopardize a spring sport after our spring sports were canceled for the 2019-20 season. The CIF put its plan together in July, and we are hopeful we will see that plan through. While the CDPH and our county color tiers will ultimately determine what is played this year, we remain hopeful the majority of our sports will be contested this year.”
Season 1 sports are (January through April): cheerleading; cross county; field hockey; football; gymnastics, skiing/snowboarding; girls’ volleyball; and water polo. Season 2 sports are (March through June): badminton; baseball; basketball; golf; lacrosse; soccer; swimming and diving; softball; tennis; track and field; boys’ volleyball; and wrestling.