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High school athletics to begin in December as calendars are released for 2020-2021 school year



By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

July 21, 2020


A little over four months ago, the high school athletic spring season came to a screeching halt because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Now we know when the athletic seasons will begin and end for the 2020-2021 school year.

This past Monday morning, the CIF State Office released its 2020-2021 sports calendar with the first wave of playoffs to begin as early as March and the final day for the track and field state championships to be held on June 26. Moments later, the CIF-Southern Section came out with its calendar with a slew of changes for this unprecedented time we are going through.

Instead of having three seasons, there will be just a fall season and a spring season. The first sport to begin in the fall will be boys volleyball (Dec. 12). However, with traditional competitive cheer, there is no established date for its first contest. Other fall sports for the upcoming school year will be cross country, field hockey, football, gymnastics, girls volleyball and boys and girls water polo.

The spring sports will consist of badminton, baseball, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls golf, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls soccer, softball, boys and girls swimming and diving, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field and boys and girls wrestling.

“The reason for that is to help with the overlap of sports, trying to have some separation between the two seasons to allow for dual sport athletes, for coaches who coach more than one sport and for maximizing the utilization of school facilities,” said CIF-SS Commissioner of Athletics Rob Wigod in a Zoom press conference with media members this past Monday afternoon.

He went on to add that there won’t be any reduction of the number of maximum allowable contests in each sport. For section championships, he said there will be the same number of

Section champions in each sport and there would continue to be the same number of divisions in each sport as well as the same number of guaranteed entries from leagues to advance to the playoffs.

One major change for the 2020-2021 school year will be the CIF giving a temporary suspension to Bylaws 600-605, thus allowing an athlete to play for his or her club team at the same time as his or her high school team. Another change will be that the rules we have been accustomed to for the summer have been extended from the time schools begin through December for the fall sports.

The thought process of putting these calendars together, not just for the CIF-SS, but with the other sections in the state began almost immediately after the cancellation of the spring sports in April. The CIF-SS held its last meeting with all the section commissioners and state office on July 13 and the calendars were finalized by the end of last week.

“I don’t think there’s been a day that has gone since that time that there hasn’t been discussions either within our own staff here, with the other section commissioners, with our state office, friends, with our schools, with athletic directors, principals, superintendents,” Wigod said.

Two days after boys volleyball begins its season, football can begin to practice with the first game scheduled for Jan. 8 and the regular season ending on Mar. 12. That means if schools have a full schedule, there will not be a Week Zero game and no one would have a bye week. The divisional playoffs would begin on Mar. 19, the championship games on Apr. 9 and 10 and the state championship bowl games on Apr. 16 and 17.

The other sports that will be able to play their first games in December are: field hockey (Dec. 18), girls volleyball (Dec. 19), boys water polo (Dec. 21), boys and girls cross country (Dec. 26) and girls water polo (Dec. 28).

Boys and girls soccer would begin their seasons on Feb. 27 with boys and girls basketball starting on Mar. 12 and baseball and softball on Mar. 19, to name a few other sports. In addition, the CIF State announced that in sports that have regional championships, that it would last no more than one week following the section championships.

“In terms of the distribution of sports into these two seasons, there are instances where there are more sports in each of these two seasons than you normally would see spread across in three seasons of sport,” Wigod said. “But there is no way you can go from a time frame of August through June to December through June and be able to offer every single sport in the same manner without the months of August, September, October and November in play.”

Except for badminton, competitive sport cheer, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls swimming and diving and boys and girls tennis, the last date for the other sports will be played after the final day of instruction for the ABC Unified School District. Its final day of instruction June 9 while the last day of school in the Norwalk/La Mirada Unified School District is on June 2. Valley Christian High will hold its graduation on May 20. The complete calendars can be found at www.cifss.org or www.cifstate.org.

“My final thought is it will be vitally important that we adults do everything we can to come through for our student-athletes and show them a unified front going forward,” Wigod said. “Our student-athletes have had enough negativity over the last few months, and they are looking for us to bring them some positive things for the future. We have done that for them today.”


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