HomeSportsCIF Sidelines High School Sports Until December

CIF Sidelines High School Sports Until December

Rising junior Nico Mavridis will now have to wait a few months to reboot his high school football career.

In a decision that shocked even those who had closely monitored the situation, the state’s governing body for high school athletics announced on Monday an updated schedule for the 2020-21 school year that will keep all previous sports but employ a two-season format that is scheduled to begin in December.
The California Interscholastic Federation’s new calendar provides that athletics in the upcoming academic year will proceed with a modified format, postponing the beginning of the traditional fall season to December, with several sports being shuffled between seasons. The revised calendar sets the last day for regional or state football playoffs as April 17, 2021. The last day for all other rescheduled fall sports will be sometime between March 20 and April 17. Winter sports, such as basketball, will be woven into spring sports, with regional or state playoffs ending June 19.
Due to a significant increase in cases of COVID-19, the traditional fall slate — which includes football, boys’ water polo, girls’ tennis, girls’ volleyball and cross-country for both genders, and typically begins in late August — will be shelved until the virus sufficiently wanes, CIF officials said while announcing the new format.
The typical athletic year contains three individual seasons, but the CIF chose to reduce the number to two and move some of the individual sports to ac­commodate the new arrangement. The fall season will now include football, field hockey, gymnastics, boys’ and girls’ volleyball, and boys’ and girls’ water polo.
The new spring lineup will feature baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ basketball, badminton, boys’ and girls’ golf, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ tennis, boys’ and girls’ swimming, boys’ and girls’ track and field and boys’ and girls’ wrestling. The spring season will begin in March with playoffs slated to conclude as late as June.

Rakel Ang, tennis

“I am really excited that CIF has revised our calendar and given us direction for the athletic calendar for the 2020-21 school year,” said San Marino High School Athletic Director David Irie. “There will be challenges with facil­ities and scheduling, but I think we all are looking forward to seeing our student-athletes competing. … I know some
of our students may have to make a de­cision on what sports to play, but we feel fortunate to have the chance to participate in athletics. The calendar definitely gives us something to look forward to in 2021.”
Irie expressed surprise when the new format was revealed, believing — like many — that the CIF would adopt a traditional yet truncated slate following the three-season format, but formatted into abbreviated two-month seasons. The CIF eventually chose to allow athletes to enjoy longer individual seasons, though that luxury could come at a high cost as many student-athletes may be

Nick Derrick, football

forced to make tough decisions due to the change. With basketball moving from winter to spring, many softball and baseball players will now be forced to make a decision about which sport to play.
“I think CIF did the best they could,” said Irie. “It seems like they wanted to protect the fall sports and they wanted to ensure that everyone got in a full season, and the only way to do that was to push it into two seasons instead of three.”
While student-athletes will be presented with choices, some coaches may find a similar challenge. Melwin Pereira has won multiple CIF championships with SMHS’ boys’ and girls’ tennis teams. The traditional schedule calls for the girls to play in the fall and the boys in the spring, but both will now head to the courts in the spring.
“It’s going to be very difficult,” said Pereira, who is also an accomplished personal

Elaine Wu, tennis

tennis coach. “How am I going to train the boys and girls together? I am guessing they will go every other day, but of course this is all new to me.”
Irie said the initial plan calls for SMHS to field teams at as many levels as possible with no plans to pare the number of squads.
“That’s the plan,” said Irie. “We will see how our numbers look as we get closer to the seasons.”
The 10 CIF sections — including the Southern Section, of which SMHS is a member — will release their own schedules.
The CIF’s announcement also temporarily suspends bylaws 600, 601, 602, 603, 604 and 605, which regulate outside competition, for all sports for the 2020-21 school year. Students will now be allowed to play on an outside club team at the same time they participate with their high school team.

Peyton Talt, cross country

Each individual CIF section and league will be responsible for coordinating practice and game schedules to facilitate conditions that would allow winter and spring sports to compete concurrently.
Irie said he would meet with SMHS Principal Jason Kurtenbach to iron out other matters, including whether student-athletes will be allowed to play multiple sports within the same season as well as myriad challenges related to facilities. A handful of the school’s athletes have participated concurrently in multiple sports. Irie said that in those cases, the student-athlete is the responsibility of the coaches of the sports the student is signed up to play for. With the condensed offering, it is possible more student-athletes might want to compete in more than one sport during a given season.
“We haven’t even talked about that yet,” Irie added.
He also said there will be a logjam for facilities in several sports.
“If you look at the new spring, with badminton, basketball and cheer, there just aren’t enough

Erin Hill, volleyball

facilities for us,” Irie said. “That is a real problem we are going to have to work on. In many cases there are too many teams with too few slots.”
With approximately twice the number of participants due to the proposed change, high school golfers will be facing long waits at the first tee as well, adding to the challenges of a sport that is at the mercy of daylight.
“I am going to do my best to make this happen,” Irie said of the juggling act that will no doubt ensue. “We have a lot of time to prepare and figure out what we can do.”

Southern Section Commissioner Rob Wigod said in the announcement presented via Zoom on Monday afternoon that the possible scenarios considered by officials “changed constantly, and

changed even more dramatically in the last couple weeks.”

Kyle Yu, volleyball

The CIF had reportedly been looking at simply sliding the three seasons into the month of January and offering shortened, two-month versions of each with play beginning in January and ending in June. That all changed.
“In the past couple weeks we went to two seasons,” said Wigod. “Our focus was to give section championships to the students and the two seasons allowed for longer seasons.” At the end of the day, the revised fall and spring arrangement “allowed for the minimum number of changes,” Wigod said, while acknowledging that no scenario would relieve anyone — the student-athlete, coach or administrator — from tough decisions.
He stated that all adults will play a key role in the future of the arrangement.
“It will be vitally important that all adults come together and present a united front,” Wigod said. “Our kids have had enough negativity. This is when we show them that we can get the job done. This is when we teach them that we can do this, and we can do it together.”
He also said that the alternative to the new plan was untenable.

Seth Ruiz, baseball

“We would be having this meeting to cancel fall sports today,” Wigod said. “I do not believe that anyone preferred that option.”
San Marino is currently in its traditional “dead period” with no practices or meetings scheduled until Monday, July 27. Irie said a decision will soon be made as to the schedule going forward.
As the result of an order by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the San Marino Unified School District will begin the school year via distance learning on Aug. 12.


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