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Central Section cancels section playoffs, championships
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Central Section cancels section playoffs, championships

High school football slideshow

Sierra Pacific's Ruben Barrios (15) and Brady Garrison (16) team up to take down Lindsay's Jonathan Hadley in this 2017 photo. The CIF Central Section has provided a new updated season of sport calendar based on California Department of Public Health guidelines.

HANFORD — The CIF Central Section provided a new updated season of sport calendar based on California Department of Public Health guidelines on Tuesday.

After the CIF postponed a future update on athletics in December, Central Section Commissioner Ryan Tos thanked the section’s executive committee for “their input and leadership during these trying times.”

“While there are few certainties in life right now, I do think that we can all agree that there is not a perfect solution for the current issues related to high school sports,” Tos said.

Tos also addressed some of the current rules, guidelines and information currently in place:

1. Practice for all sports may commence as allowed by CDPH guidelines, local county health guidelines and school/district policy.

2. Current CDPH guidance does not allow for any competition to take place while a county is under the regional stay at home order.

3. Competition can only take place as allowed by CDPH, county and school/district guidelines.

4. Even though the Central Section has determined start dates, each individual member school or district may elect to open their seasons at a later date within the section’s season of sport.

5. Based on current CDPH guidance student-athletes may only participate in one cohort (team) during the same time or season.

6. For additional information please review the Updated Youth Sports Guidance from the California Department of Public Health.

7. The football season must conclude by April 17, 2021 for the 2021 fall season to begin as scheduled this fall (July 19).

8. I have received a few inquiries about Bylaw 504.F and the ability for a league to deviate from the state’s season of sport calendar. If your league chooses to pursue this possibility please reach out to me so that I can provide additional information.

Bylaw 504.F states “Sections and/or leagues are encouraged to conduct all sports during the State-approved season.” The bylaw does not prohibit them from following their own calendar.

However, if a school plans to deviate from the state’s calendar, then they must follow bylaw 504.G, which states:

Member schools, through their league or Section, shall either:

(1) Schedule identical sports, and baseball and softball, with seasons of the same number of weeks regardless of the season of the year in which the sport is played; OR

(2) Schedule all sports in a particular season of the year to be an equal number of weeks.

At this time, it’s unclear how many schools, if any, plan on following their own calendar.

There have been new changes made to the Central Section sport calendar with the biggest being the Central Section playoffs and championship events canceled for cross country, football, girls volleyball and water polo.

“While this possibility has been discussed for some time, it is still a very difficult decision to make,” Tos said. “While there may be changes in the future, the current CDPH guidance only allows competition between bordering counties, making section championship events impossible.”

The cancellation allows for schools to schedule competitions for those championship dates as CDPH guidance allows.

The new end dates for the aforementioned sports are as follows:

a. Cross Country — March 27

b. Football — April 17

c. Girls Volleyball — March 20

d. Water Polo — March 20

The CIF is encouraging leagues to consider leaving the last week of the season open for possible county playoffs or bowl games.

The start dates for swimming and diving, golf and tennis have also been moved up to allow for competition to begin on Feb. 15 (if allowed by CDPH guidelines). Badminton, boys volleyball and lacrosse have been moved to match the state’s season of sport.

The CIF included a new column in their updated sport document titled “Recommended start by dates” which is the date teams would need to begin competition in order to have four weeks of competition. These dates may vary by district and/or school.

Noe Garcia can be reached at (559) 583-2431 or Follow Noe on Twitter at @noecarlosgarcia.

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