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Mother Lode League Athletics
Following The Rules

CIF releases exhaustive list of COVID-19 guidelines prior to beginning seasons

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CIF releases exhaustive list of COVID-19 guidelines prior to beginning seasons

High school sports in the Mother Lode League are scheduled to return in some capacity by March. And with the anticipated return of athletic competition, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) set up guidelines for each sport.

The first step was to separate different sports into four tiers, the same way that California monitors individual counties for COVID19 cases. Those tiers are widespread (purple), substantial (red), moderate (orange) and minimal (yellow). With the tier system in place, health and safety guidelines for each sport were then decided. Regardless of which sports return and when, they will be required to follow the guidelines.

Common guidelines for all sports would be that masks shall be worn at all times by all individuals in attendance other than when engaged in competition. Social distancing measures shall be in place at all times other than when engaged in competition. Also, team members shall not share water bottles. Hydration stations may be utilized but shall be touched only by a single appointed monitor.

Baseball/softball (red tier)

CIF releases exhaustive list of COVID-19 guidelines prior to beginning seasons

Event limitations: Adhere to local county guidelines.

Pregame conference: Limit attendees to head coach of both teams and game umpires. Participants must maintain social distancing protocols during the conference. There will be no line-up card exchange and no handshakes.

Team dugouts: Coaches, game personnel and players only permitted in the dugout. Social distance requirements must be observed by all in the dugout. If the dugout area is not large enough to provide for social distance requirements, players and game personnel may move outside of the immediate dugout area to practice social distance requirements. Spectators shall not be permitted near the dugouts and/or the immediate area of the dugout.

Postgame procedures: Replace handshakes after the game with a social distance acknowledgment of the team’s choosing. Official scorekeeping area: Limited to one person from each team and must observe social distance requirements behind the backstop.

Equipment sanitation: Each team provides sanitized balls (bucket) while on defense and have a “dirty” ball bucket available, so they can be sanitized after the game. Bases must be sanitized after each game.

Equipment and accessories: Permissible face coverings are required to be worn at all times by all attendees present other than when engaged in competition. Players shall utilize their own equipment bin for all personal gear in the dugout. Minimize the sharing of playing equipment, such as bats, batting helmets and catchers’ gear. Equipment must be sanitized between usage of multiple players. Batting gloves are encouraged to minimize contact with bats, balls and bases. Sanitize all equipment and accessories after each game.

Umpires: No line-up card exchanges. Observe social distance requirements when communicating with coaches, players and other umpires. Face coverings are required at all times. Carry hand sanitizer and use frequently.

Game personnel considerations (coaches, players, umpires): No sunflower seeds, spitting or gum. Carry hand sanitizer and use frequently. If a pitcher puts his/her hands to their mouth and touches the ball, “TIME” is called, the pitcher must sanitize their hands and a new ball is inserted before throwing the next pitch.

Basketball (yellow tier)

CIF releases exhaustive list of COVID-19 guidelines prior to beginning seasons

Event limitations: Twenty-eight games are permitted during the season.

Pregame conference: Limit attendees to the referee and the head coach from each team with each coach standing on the center circle on each side of the division line. All individuals maintain a social distance of 6 feet or greater at the center circle. Suspend handshakes prior to and following the pregame conference.

Team benches: Limit the number of bench personnel to observe social distancing of 6 feet or greater. Place team benches opposite the spectator seating whenever possible. Additional chairs or rows may be added to allow bench personnel to observe social distancing of 6-feet or greater. Personnel not in the game should adhere to any required local/state face covering requirements.

Substitution procedures: Maintain social distancing of 6 feet between the second referee and the player and limit contact between players when substituting.

Officials’ table: The host should sanitize the table before the game and at halftime. Place officials table sufficiently away from the sideline to allow for additional space for substitutes. Limit to essential personnel which includes home team scorer and shot clock timer with 6 feet between individuals. Visiting team personnel (scorer, statisticians, etc.) are not deemed essential personnel and will need to find an alternative location. Table personnel should adhere to any required local/state face covering requirements.

Pre/postgame ceremony: Replace handshakes before and after the match with a social distance acknowledgment of the team’s choosing.

Basketball sanitation: Ball given to officials in the locker room, where it is sanitized as recommended by the ball manufacturer and not used for warmups. Game ball should be cleaned at the end of each quarter.

Equipment and accessories: Permissible face coverings are required to be worn at all times by all attendees present. Gloves are permissible. Players shall utilize their own equipment bin for all personal gear on the sideline.

Officials’ uniform and equipment: By state association adoption, long-sleeved shirts are permissible. Officials should not be required to wear jackets during pregame court/ player observation. Electronic whistles are permissible. Permissible face coverings and gloves are permissible.

Cross country (purple tier)

CIF releases exhaustive list of COVID-19 guidelines prior to beginning seasons

General guidelines: Meets should consider using staggered, wave or interval starts.

Event modifications: Consider widening the course to at least 6 feet at its narrowest point. The finish-line area should be enlarged to provide for social distancing guidelines.

Pre/post meet ceremony: Do not shake hands before or after the races/events.

Football (orange tier)

CIF releases exhaustive list of COVID-19 guidelines prior to beginning seasons

Event limitations: Ten games are permitted during the season. Adhere to local county guidelines.

Pregame conference: Limit attendees to one captain from each team, head referee and umpire. Coin toss should take place in the center of the field with designated individuals maintaining social distancing of 6 feet. No handshakes prior to and following the coin toss. Maintain social distancing of 6 feet while performing all pregame responsibilities with all officiating crew members, game administration staff, line-to-gain crew, clock operators, individuals handling the balls during the game and team personnel.

Team benches: The team box may be extended on both sides of the field to the 10-yard lines (for players only) for more social-distancing space for the teams. Maintain social distancing of 6 feet at all times while in the team box.

Pre/postgame ceremony: Replace handshakes after the game with a social distance acknowledgment of the team’s choosing.

Football sanitation: Games shall utilize a three-ball rotation, ensuring that anytime a ball goes out of play it shall be sanitized thoroughly with a bleach wipe before returning to the rotation.

Equipment and accessories: Permissible face coverings are required to be worn at all times by all attendees present. Gloves are permissible. Players shall utilize their own equipment bin for all personal gear on the sideline.

Boys’ and girls’ golf (purple tier)

CIF releases exhaustive list of COVID-19 guidelines prior to beginning seasons

General guidelines: Only essential personnel are permitted on the course. These are defined as players, coaches, athletic trainers and officials. Event

Modifications: Players should use their own equipment and golf balls. Players should not touch other players’ equipment or golf balls. Players should not touch the flagstick, bunker rakes or ball cleaning devices on the course.

Pre/post meet ceremony: Replace handshakes before and after the match with a social distance acknowledgment of the team’s choosing.

Soccer (orange tier)

CIF releases exhaustive list of COVID-19 guidelines prior to beginning seasons

Event limitations: Twenty-eight matches are permitted during the season and must adhere to local county guidelines.

Pregame conference: Limit attendees to head or center referee, the head coach and a single captain from each team. Move the location of the pregame conference to the center of the field. Participants must maintain social distancing protocols during the conference. No handshakes.

Team benches: Coaches, game personnel and players only permitted in the team bench area. Social distance requirements must be observed by all in the team bench area. Team bench areas may be located on opposite sides of the field. Spectators shall not be permitted behind the team benches.

Postgame Procedures: Replace handshakes after the game with a social distance acknowledgment of the team’s choosing.

Official scorekeeping area: Limited to home team scorekeeper and timer. Maintain social distance requirements. Visiting team personnel (scorekeeper, statistician, timer) are not deemed essential personnel and will need to find an alternative location.

Equipment sanitation: Games shall utilize a three-ball rotation, ensuring that anytime a ball goes out of play it shall be sanitized thoroughly with a bleach wipe before returning to the rotation.

Equipment and accessories: Permissible face coverings are required to be worn at all times by all attendees present. Players shall utilize their own equipment bin for all personal gear on the sideline. Long sleeves and long pants are permissible. Gloves are permissible. Undergarments are permissible but must be of a similar length for the individual and a solid-like color of the team. Sanitize all equipment and accessories after each game.

Swimming (purple tier)

CIF releases exhaustive list of COVID-19 guidelines prior to beginning seasons

Event limitations: Fourteen meets are permitted during the season. Adhere to local county guidelines and athlete clerking areas should be eliminated.

Pre-meet conference: Decrease number of participants or hold one conference with coaches and one meeting with captains while maintaining proper social distance guidelines. The referee can use the public address (PA) system or starting-system microphone to allow participants to hear but keep them properly separated.

Team seating and lane placement: Keep the teams on opposite sides of the pool and require the home team to compete in lanes 1 through 3 and visitors to swim in lanes 4 through 6.

Swimming warmup areas: Establish multiple sessions for warm-up periods to limit the number of swimmers per lane. Restrict the number of swimmers in the competition area. Limit number of swimmers per lane during warm-up and warm-down periods.

Meet officials: Officials responsible for information processing are often located together at a desk/table adjacent to the competition course or in an office/remote location. Develop alternative methods for submitting entries (3-2) and movement of non-electronic information. Require a distance of 3 to 6 feet between individuals seated at the desk/table.

Referee and starter: Various rules require interactions between officials, coaches and athletes. Alternative methods of communications include utilization of the PA system, hand signals or written communication.

Submission of entries to referee: Alternative forms of entry submission can be designed to reduce face-to-face interaction when submitting a proper entry, where/how/to whom entries are submitted, and a reduction or elimination of certain penalties currently attached to improper entries.

Timers: Timers must assemble at the finish of each race, at the edge of the pool within the 6- to 8-feet confines of the lane which they are timing. Timers should wear permissible facial coverings.

Relay takeoff judges: Require all takeoff judging from the sides of the pool. Space relay swimmers apart from one another. Timers and relay takeoff judges should wear permissible facial coverings.

Equipment and accessories: Permissible face coverings are required to be worn at all times by all attendees present. Gloves are permissible. Players shall utilize their own equipment bin for all personal gear on the sideline.

Notification of disqualification: Notification shall occur from a distance via use of hand signals or the PA system.

Tennis (purple tier)

CIF releases exhaustive list of COVID-19 guidelines prior to beginning seasons

Event limitations: Twenty-four matches are permitted during the season and must adhere to local county guidelines.

Pre-match conference: Limit attendees to the official and the head coach from each. All individuals maintain a social distance of 6 feet or greater. Suspend handshakes prior to and following the pregame conference.

Pre/post-match ceremony: Replace handshakes before and after the game with a social distance acknowledgement of the team’s choosing.

Tennis ball sanitation: Practice caution with the tennis balls and avoid letting the participants touch them. Try to restrict balls to a particular group, court or day of the week. One idea is to label them with a permanent marker. Consider spraying tennis balls briefly with a disinfectant spray (e.g., Lysol or Clorox) at the conclusion of play. Using new balls on a very regular basis is highly encouraged.

Equipment and accessories: Use alcohol-based disinfectant to clean all tennis gear, including racquets, towels, target cones, ball machines, etc. Permissible face coverings are required to be worn at all times by all attendees present. Gloves are permissible. Players shall utilize their own equipment bin for all personal gear on the sideline.

Track and Field (purple tier)

CIF releases exhaustive list of COVID-19 guidelines prior to beginning seasons

Event modifications: To limit contact, athletes can provide their own implements (that pass inspection) and retrieve their own implements after all throws. If athletes can’t provide their own implements, then it is recommended that implements be sanitized between each use. To lower the risk of these events meets can cover high jump or pole vault pits with a tarp that is removed and disinfected after each athlete (therefore multiple tarps needed to keep the event moving). Sprint, hurdle, relay events run entirely in lanes, may use every other lane to assist with distancing.

Pre-post meet ceremony: Do not shake hands before or after the races/events.

Equipment sanitation: Blocks should be disinfected after each heat/race. Schools/ competitors can bring their own batons, or they should be disinfected after each heat/race.

Equipment and accessories: Permissible face coverings are required to be worn at all times by all attendees present. Players shall utilize their own equipment (implements, vaulting poles) and sanitize all equipment and accessories.

Volleyball (orange tier)

CIF releases exhaustive list of COVID-19 guidelines prior to beginning seasons

Event limitations: Twenty-eight matches are permitted during the season and must adhere to local county guidelines.

Pregame Conference: Move the location of the pre-match conference to center court with one coach and one referee positioned on each side of the net. All four individuals maintain a social distance of 6 feet. Limit attendees to one coach from each team, first referee and second referee. Suspend the use of the coin toss to determine serve/receive. The visiting team will serve first in set-1 and alternate first serve for the remaining non-deciding sets. Suspend roster submission at the pre-match conference. Rosters are submitted directly to the officials’ table before the 10-minute mark.

Team benches: Suspend the protocol of teams switching benches between sets. Chairs shall not be permitted on the sideline except for coaching staff. Players shall stand while observing social distance requirements. Coaching staff may sit but must also honor social-distance requirements. Spectators shall not be permitted behind team benches.

Deciding set procedures: Move the location of the deciding set coin toss to center court with team captains and the second referee maintaining the appropriate social distance of 6 feet. A coin toss, called by the home team, will decide serve/receive.

Substitution procedures: Maintain social distancing of 6 feet between the second referee and the player and substitute by encouraging substitutions to occur within the substitution zone closer to the attack line.

Officials’ table: Limit to essential personnel which includes home team scorer, libero tracker and timer with a distance of 6 feet between individuals. Visiting team personnel (scorer, statisticians, etc.) are not deemed essential personnel and will need to find an alternative location.

Pre/postgame ceremony: Replace handshakes before and after the match with a social distance acknowledgment of the team’s choosing. Volleyball sanitation: Games shall utilize a three-ball rotation, ensuring that anytime a ball goes out of play it shall be sanitized thoroughly with a bleach wipe before returning to the rotation.

Equipment and accessories: Permissible face coverings are required to be worn at all times by all attendees present. Gloves are permissible. Players shall utilize their own equipment bin for all personal gear on the sideline.

Uniforms: Long sleeves are encouraged to reduce skin contact with the ball. Long pants and undergarments are permissible.

Water polo (yellow tier)

CIF releases exhaustive list of COVID-19 guidelines prior to beginning seasons

Event limitations: Adhere to local county guidelines.

Pregame captains meeting: Limit attendees to the head coach and one participant of both teams and officials. Participants must maintain social distancing protocols during the conference. No handshakes.

Team benches: Teams should be seated on opposite sides of the pool and away from the officials’ table. To promote social distancing, substitute players may be in the water behind the goal line outside the re-entry area, at least 2 meters from the goal, provided this is possible on both ends of the field of play. Head coaches shall sit or stand behind the goal line in the team area when the team is on defense and shall maintain 6 feet of distance from players and officials. Spectators shall not be permitted near the pool deck. Suspend the protocol of teams switching benches between game quarters, unless this leads to an unfair advantage due to sunlight. Spectators shall not be permitted behind team benches.

Postgame procedures: Replace handshakes after the game with a social-distance acknowledgment of the team’s choosing.

Game officials: Require a distance of 6 feet between individuals seated at the desk/table. Officials should wear permissible facial coverings. The reentry areas should be set up on the opposite side from the score table with the goal judges situated on the same side as the score table, each on the goal line at the end of the field of play. If facility constraints make this difficult, configure the deck set-up in a way that promotes 6 feet of social distancing. The game timer can also act as a shot clock timer, consolidating working positions at the table. The duties of the exclusion secretary can be combined with the scorekeeper to consolidate working positions at the table.

Equipment sanitation: Games shall utilize a three-ball rotation, ensuring that anytime a ball goes out of play it shall be sanitized thoroughly with a bleach wipe before returning to the rotation.

Equipment and accessories: Permissible face coverings are required to be worn at all times by all attendees present. Players shall utilize their own equipment (swim cap) and sanitize all equipment and accessories after each game.

Referees control over conduct: After the pregame captains’ meeting, the head coach and captain(s) are the only individuals authorized to address the referees. Alternative methods of communication should be established to encourage 6 feet of social distancing. Submission of entries to referee: Alternative forms of roster submission can be designed to reduce face-to-face interaction when submitting a proper roster, where/how/to whom entries are submitted, and a reduction or elimination of certain penalties currently attached to improper entries. For example, teams may provide a pre-printed roster for all levels prior to the game so that only the game secretary is handling the game book and writing utensils.

Wrestling (yellow tier)

CIF releases exhaustive list of COVID-19 guidelines prior to beginning seasons

Event limitations: Forty matches are permitted during the season. Teams may have more than one team dual in a day but must keep teams separated to meet social distancing guidelines. Only two teams will be allowed to compete at the same time. Contests must be scheduled to allow for appropriate cleaning and sanitizing when a new team comes to the facility and must adhere to local county guidelines.

Team benches: Adhere to physical distancing guidelines. Only one coach and one athlete per team will be permitted on the mat during a match.

Weigh-ins: Weigh-ins should be completed one team at a time.

Warm-ups: When a wrestling room is available, the home team should use the wrestling room for their warm-up.

Officials’ table: Assigned seating for essential bench personnel is recommended with a distance of 6 feet between them.

Pre/postgame ceremony: Replace handshakes before and after the match with a social distance acknowledgment of the team’s choosing.

Mat sanitation: Contests must be scheduled to allow for appropriate cleaning and sanitizing when a new team comes to the facility.

Equipment and accessories: Permissible face coverings are required to be worn at all times by all attendees present. Players shall utilize their own equipment bin for all personal gear on the sideline.

Uniform: Compression shirts are encouraged to reduce skin contact. Long pants and undergarments are permissible.

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