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CIF to decide by July 20 if fall sports season will go on as scheduled
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CIF to decide by July 20 if fall sports season will go on as scheduled

The California Interscholastic Federation will decide by July 20 if the fall sports season will continue as scheduled.

The organization's state office made the announcement Friday after the office and 10 section commissioners met for three days culminating Friday.

"As our member schools begin planning for the reopening of school, the CIF, in collaboration with our 10 Sections, will be determining by July 20 if Fall sports will continue as currently scheduled," the announcement said.

"The CIF is prepared to offer alternative calendars if it is determined by July 20 that Fall sports may not start as scheduled due to ongoing public health and safety concerns."

One possible option is moving the fall sports season, or at least the football season, to January. 

Schools closed statewide in mid-March and the CIF state office announced on April 3 that all spring sports post-season events were cancelled.

The last sports events on the Central Coast took place May 13.

School districts will have the ability to determine when sports-related activities resume at their respective sites. Districts have acknowledged, though, that their decisions will likely be guided by recommendations from the CIF office. Nearly all Santa Maria Valley schools and every San Luis Obispo County school is in the CIF Central Section. Lompoc Valley Schools and Santa Ynez have remained in the CIF Southern Section, as has Valley Christian Academy.  

Rob Wigod, the CIF Southern Section commissioner, released a statement Friday.

“The message I want to convey to all of you is that we are totally committed to having fall, winter and spring sports during the 2020-2021 school year,” Wigod said. “I want to remind you that the decisions to reopen our schools, and subsequently bring back athletic programs after they have started their academic year, will be made entirely by each local Superintendent/School Board from a public school district or each private school Head of School/School Board who have the authority to make those decisions.

“I am sure they will follow the recommendations of state and local health authorities in arriving at the decisions that are in the best interests of their students and school communities.”

The high school football season is currently slated to begin Friday, Aug. 21. According to the current CIF Central Section Season of Sport, football practices can begin July 27.

In all fall sports, the first scrimmage can take place Aug. 14. The first contests for all sports, except girls volleyball, can take place Aug. 20.

The first girls volleyball match can take place Aug. 17.

The CIF announced what it said are two COVID-19-related waivers.

One is a physical examination waiver. The waiver states that governing boards of school districts and private schools "may elect to provide a one-time, temporary waiver of Bylaw 503.G. The waiver will allow the student-athlete to participate in athletics for a maximum of thirty (30) calendar days from their school's first day of practice in that sport."

The waiver applies only to CIF-sanctioned 2020 fall sports.

The other is a financial hardship waiver allowing a student-athlete to transfer to a new school without having to sit out part of the season under certain conditions.

Part of that waiver states, "...a waiver of Bylaw 207 may be granted for a student who transfers to a new school during the first semester of the 2020-21 school year when there is a demonstrated and verifiable hardship condition due to financial difficulties."

The CIF office also stated the academic eligibility requirement will remain in place. Students must maintain a 2.0 grade-point average and carry 20 passing units to remain eligible to compete in CIF events. 

The newly-released CIF guidelines for returning to sport activities states athletes must be screened for symptoms of COVID-19. Another new guidelines is ensuring that water bottles are not shared during activities. Athletes must bring their own water bottles. There will be no water troughs or water stations during training sessions. 

The CIF is mandating that athletic balls not be shared. For instance, footballs are not to be passed between teammates as long as social distancing guidelines are in place.

The CIF stated in its guidelines regarding football that "a player should not participate in drills with a single ball that will be handed off or passed to other teammates. Contact with other players is not allowed, and there should be no sharing of tackling dummies/donuts/sleds. Protective equipment prohibited."

These rules remain in effect unless local county guidelines permit otherwise.

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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