CIF Postpones Football and Other Fall Sports to December 2020 Due to COVID-19
On July 20, 2020, the California Interscholastic Federation (“CIF”), the state’s governing body for high school sports, issued an updated press release regarding the impact of COVID-19 on fall sports for the 2020-21 academic year, which can be viewed in full here: https://www.cifstate.org/covid-19/7.20.20_release. The statement provides that athletics for the 2020-21 academic year will proceed with a modified schedule pursuant to a sports calendar postponing the beginning of the traditional fall season of sports to December 2020. 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. Each CIF Section will release their own calendar to reflect regular season starting and ending dates and Section playoffs. It is anticipated that most Section fall season start dates will commence in December 2020 or January 2021.
The CIF’s statement takes a similar approach to the California Community College Athletic Association’s (“CCCAA”) announcement on July 9, 2020, which postponed fall sports to practices in January and competitions in February. The move is also reflective of what several athletic conferences across various National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) divisions have already done in suspending fall conference play or postponing until the spring.
The CIF’s statement also temporarily suspends Bylaws 600, 601, 602, 603, 604, and 605, which regulates outside competition, for all sports for the 2020-21 school year. Accordingly, students will be allowed to participate on an outside club team at the same time they participate on their high school team.
The updated “directive” follows CIF’s June 12, 2020, statement which provided guidance for its member schools and school districts to consider in designing return to physical activity/training standards that are in accordance with state and local county requirements. A copy of the June 12, 2020 statement can be viewed in full here: https://www.cifstate.org/covid-19/Resources/RTP_Combined.pdf. It appears based on the CIF’s July 20, 2020 announcement that student athletes will now have more time to prepare for the “fall” season. It also appears that Sections and individual leagues will be responsible for coordinating practice and game schedules to address other issues related to the CIF’s plan to allow winter and spring sports to run concurrently, e.g., multisport student athletes and/or coaches, shared facilities, etc.