As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge in California, the California Interscholastic Federation recently announced its decision to postpone fall sports until December or January. This move was made following Governor Gavin Newsom’s mandate to keep most California schools closed for in-person learning.
Though the announcement by the CIF came as no surprise, it may be disappointing for the thousands of student athletes throughout California, a state rich with nationally ranked sports teams and highly competitive athletic preparatory programs. Additionally, it is creating an even larger conflict for high school recruits who are looking to play a sport at the collegiate level.
“With the shut down, it has been hard to find games this summer, and when we do find games, there are virtually no college scouts there due to the extended NCAA dead period through Sept. 30,” said senior varsity baseball player Nolan Barry. “Although the virus has taken a lot from my original plans of being recruited, I’m happy that more colleges are embracing a video approach to the recruiting process.”
Even with fall sports being pushed back, there is still no guarantee that sports will resume in the early spring. CIF Commissioner Ron Nocetti said in a statement that he plans to follow the guidelines of government officials and the department of public health to determine when it will be safe to allow sports to resume.
He told the Bee, “Everything we’ve done is with the health and safety of the students in mind, and their families. It’s not something any of us ever anticipated, a pandemic, or thought we’d face. It’s been difficult. We have challenges. How do we create opportunities? That’s our focus.”
The CIF’s plan for the delayed fall sports season allows each section to announce its own pre-season agenda as long as it follows within CIF calendar guidelines. This will allow athletes plenty of time to prepare for their sports season.
Rio’s head cross country coach Anton Escay is optimistic about the CIF’s flexible decision.
“I’m just happy that they were willing to push everything back and that we get have a season,” he said. “Runners are tough and can race through anything. As long as we keep our base mileage decent with some hill work and tempo running from time to time we will be just fine. October is when I plan on getting down to business with our training.”
However, despite the CIF’s flexible plan to resume sports when safe, the situation is creating unintended challenges for multisport athletes having to choose between their fall or spring sport.
“Postponing fall sports is very unfortunate for multisport athletes even though we understand the reasons and concerns behind it,” said junior Michael Rossi. “It has forced me to choose one sport with the hopes of possibly playing two as the seasons may overlap. We’ll just have to wait to see how it all plays out.”
Despite the challenges, this schedule allows Rio to carry out full seasons of all sports with limited crossover. This plan will only be effective for this year due to the pandemic, as the typical three-season sports plan will resume the following academic year.