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CIF pushes high school sports start date back to December or January

The CIF’s move means that most high school seniors committed to play football at the next level will not play their sport again

The California Interscholastic Federation has officially pushed back the start of the high school sports season to December or January, the CIF announced on Monday.

The move signifies a new start date for fall sports and outlined the last day for which Section playoffs would culminate.

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has determined, in collaboration with our 10 Sections, that education-based athletics for the 2020-2021 school year will begin with a modified season of sport schedule (see below for 2020-21 sports calendar). Our calendar reflects the season for each CIF sport and the last date for Section Championships and Regional/State Championships in those sports where a Regional/State Championship is currently offered. Following this announcement, each CIF Section Office will release their own calendar to reflect regular season starting and ending dates and Section playoffs. It is anticipated that most Section start dates will commence in December 2020 or January 2021.

We are continuously monitoring the directives and guidelines released from the Governor’s Office, the California Department of Education, the California Department of Public Health, and local county health departments and agencies as these directives and guidelines are followed by our member schools/school districts with student health and safety at the forefront. As these guidelines change, CIF Sections may allow for athletic activity to potentially resume under the summer period rules of the local Section. Also, given this calendar change, the CIF has temporarily suspended Bylaws 600-605 (Outside Competition) in all sports for the 2020-21 school year (see below for more specific information related to these changes).

The section playoffs are scheduled to end on these specific dates for each of the following fall sports:

Volleyball: March 13, 2021
Water Polo: March 13, 2021
Cross Country: March 20, 2021
Football: April 10, 2021

And has subsequently given us the dates for the last day of section playoffs for the following spring sports:

Badminton: May 22, 2021
Soccer: May 29, 2021
Swimming & Diving: May 29, 2021
Tennis: May 29, 2021
Wrestling: June 5, 2021
Basketball: June 12, 2021
Golf: June 12, 2021
Baseball: June 19, 2021
Softball: June 19, 2021
Track & Field: June 19, 2021

“This is the best possible plan we have with what’s going on to give students an opportunity to participate,” said Vicky Lagos, the Los Angeles City Section commissioner. “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.”

So what exactly does this mean for the California Golden Bears? Well, it just simply means that the majority of committed athletes for football, at least, have likely played their last game at the high school level. With the majority of FBS signees now signing their National Letters of Intent in December (currently scheduled for December 18 this year), it means that the new Signing Day is scheduled to be here before the start of the 2020-21 high school football season.

Already a large portion of student-athletes at the major college football level choose to enrol early and get a leg up on the competition by starting classes in January. And with that now being the start of what would be their senior seasons, it’s likely most that are capable, will opt out of their final high school season in favor of jumping into college football.

There certainly will be competitive football and those juniors and underclassmen will absolutely play if the CIF can mandate safety protocols and clear teams to return to the practice fields. But it means the higher likelihood that most seniors who have committed or plan to commit to an FBS program, will likely not play football at the high school level again.

And that means that the entirety of high school football scouting by the Bears coaching staff will have to go on just junior year and underclass tape from these future signees.

This is a developing story and we’ll monitor any and all Cal recruits, whether committed or offered or targeted, as to what this may mean as we go on through the summer and fall.