CIF further delays high school sports amid COVID-19 case surge

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The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) announced Tuesday that all full practice and competition start dates are officially on hold due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, and that championships involving fall sports have been canceled.

Before the start of the 2020-21 school year, the CIF, which represents 10 sections and 1,605 schools in the state — including the North Coast Section that includes schools in West Contra Costa County — had condensed the three sports seasons into two — Season 1 and Season 2 — with the first season tentatively scheduled to begin in December. Season 1 includes football, volleyball, water polo and cross country.

A continued surge in COVID-19 infections, however, has prompted state public health officials to postpone issuance of an updated youth sports guidance.

The CIF doesn’t expect public health officials will issue any guidance allowing schools to return to full practice and competition until after Jan. 1, 2021, at the earliest.

As a result, the CIF has decided to cancel all regional and state championship events involved with Season 1 sports. That decision, according to CIF, lengthens the regular season to for all schools, enabling more play time for more student-athletes.

“Additionally, boys volleyball will be moved to Season 2 to avoid the loss of a second full season, and an updated Season 2 calendar to include boys volleyball will be posted in January,” the CIF said.

Season 2 sports under the revised calendar include basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, tennis, golf, track & field, swimming and diving, wrestling and badminton.