California High School Sports Postponed Until at Least December Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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The California Interscholastic Federation announced Monday that the start of high school sports for the upcoming academic year will be pushed back to December 2020 or January 2021.

The three typical high school seasons—fall, winter and spring—will be played between December and June and compressed into either fall or spring seasons.

The CIF is divided into ten sections across the state and includes more than 800,000 high school athletes. The federation announced "each CIF section office will release their own calendar to reflect regular season starting and ending dates and section playoffs."

"This is the best possible plan we have with what's going on to give students an opportunity to participate," Vicky Lagos, the Los Angeles City Section commissioner, told The Los Angeles Times. "There are going to be issues in terms of facilities and multiple-sport athletes, but this is the best scenario for the most people. I have confidence the schools and coaches will work it out among themselves. My take from coaches is they want the opportunity to participate and be with the kids."

The CIF canceled the 2019-20 state basketball championships in mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic quickly spread across the U.S. On April 3, the federation nixed the remainder of the spring sports season. There have been no high school games since, and while some schools had begun holding team workouts this summer, many came to a halt while waiting to hear from the CIF and public health officials on when they could safely return.

As coronavirus cases continue to spike across California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new rules Friday that will cause many of the state's districts to begin the school year remotely. His announcement came on the heels of California's two largest school districts, Los Angeles and San Diego, also saying they planned to forgo in-person instruction at the start of the academic year.

The changes to the sports calendar present issues for athletes who play multiple sports each school year, as seasons will overlap under the new calendar. Meanwhile, some seniors will miss their final high school seasons if they enroll in college early in January. Four-star defensive tackle Victory Vaka from Westlake High School (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) announced on Twitter that he will skip his senior season of high school football due to the calendar changes. He already committed to Texas A&M and plans to enroll in classes in January.