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CIF Southern Section provides update for 2020-21 youth sports

I hope you and your families are well. Here is the latest update…

1) 2020-2021 Sports Calendars – Over the last several months, and through the ever-changing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been working on various scenarios to deliver Fall, Winter and Spring sports during the 2020-2021 school year. Below, you will see the results of that effort, with some explanations/clarifications regarding the decisions that have been made. I want to thank CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti and CIF Associate Executive Director Brian Seymour for their leadership, along with my fellow Section Commissioners and our entire staff for their hard work, dedication and professionalism throughout this entire process. From start to finish, the focus has been on how we can serve the young men and young women we are so fortunate to serve in the best way we possibly can, and I commend everyone involved for never wavering in their support of that philosophy.

A) Two Seasons – Fall and Spring – In examining the most effective way to deliver Fall, Winter and Spring sports for the 2020-2021 school year, the decision was made to condense three seasons of sport into two seasons of sport, primarily to help with the spacing between particular sports and the overlap of certain sports between seasons.
B) Length of Regular Seasons – Regular seasons, some of which were 83 days (Soccer), 81 days (Basketball), 64 days (Football) and 57 days (Girls Volleyball) already had quite a range, in terms of the length of their seasons in previous years. We believe that to help with the overlap of seasons, affecting student-athletes, coaches and facilities, we would standardize the length of the regular seasons to approximately 72 days, for those who previously had more days than that, while leaving the others with less than 72 days alone. In doing so, we would help with the issues mentioned, but keep in mind that we are not imposing any reduction on the maximum number of allowable contests, per CIF Bylaw 1206, in any sport. The total number of days in some sports will be reduced, approximately 5%-12%, but schools can still play the same number of maximum allowable contests, if they choose, in that smaller window.
C) Section Championships – The 2020-2021 sports calendar includes full Section Championship experiences, which means the same number of champions in each sport, the same number of divisions in each sport and the same number of guaranteed entries from leagues advancing to the playoffs in each sport, as in previous years.
D) CIF Regional/State Championships – The CIF State Office has made the decision to streamline the CIF Regional and CIF State Championships competitions/tournaments to no longer than one week, once our Southern Section Championships have concluded. More details on format, dates, etc., will be forthcoming from the CIF State Office.

2) CIF Bylaws 600-605 Suspended for the 2020-2021 School Year – CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti has made the decision to enact CIF Bylaw 1108.A, which states, “In emergency situations, the State CIF President or Executive Director or his/her authorized designee my act for the Federated Council in the best interests of the organization. The action will be reviewed by the Executive Committee.” Therefore, a decision has been made that CIF Bylaws 600-605 will be suspended for the 2020-2021 school year. The thought behind this decision was it would not be a realistic expectation, with the major adjustments of our sports seasons, that we would still prohibit students from participating in contests for outside teams during the high school season of sport.

3) Summertime Rules Extended – Once we had to cancel the remainder of our Spring sports season in April, the decision was made to have our schools go immediately into Summertime Rules, meaning your athletic programs are under the authority of the high school principal. It has been decided that Summertime Rules will be extended from when the school year begins in August/September through December and the beginning of Fall sports. As schools open and students return, provided state and local health authorities deem it safe to do so, schools can begin their pre-season preparations as they see fit, depending on what is allowed by health authorities during that time period. The only real difference is if the principal allows teams to represent member schools as school teams during the off-season during the school year, schools will be allowed to do so during the 2020-2021 school year.

4) Approval Process – CIF Southern Section Bylaw 54.8 states the following, “In emergency situations, between meetings of the Southern Section Council, the Executive Committee shall be empowered to act for the Southern Section Council when necessary. Any actions taken by the Executive Committee will be subject to review by the Southern Section Council at their next meeting. Emergency situations would include, but not be limited to, those involving disasters, fires, earthquakes, or situations of extraordinary significance affecting member schools and their athletes.” Therefore, the 2020-2021 sports calendars will be placed on the agenda as an Emergency Action Item at the next scheduled meeting of the CIF Southern Section Executive Committee on Thursday, August 13, 2020. At that meeting, per CIF Southern Section Bylaw 54.8, the Executive Committee will consider the 2020-2021 sports calendar for approval.

I have stated previously that if we are to deliver Fall, Winter and Spring sports this upcoming school year it will require vision, creativity, flexibility, teamwork and unwavering commitment from all involved to answer this call to leadership. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures and there is no doubt that is where we are right now. It is my sincere hope and expectation that you are ready to embrace the challenges that lie ahead as we embark on this journey together.

I hope this information is useful to you moving forward and if you have any questions, or I can
help you in any way at all, do not hesitate to contact me. My staff and I are ready, willing and
able to assist you in any way we possibly can.

Thank you very much for your help and support, it is truly appreciated. Be well, stay safe, take care and all the best to you and your families.

This article was written by Rob Wigod, Commissioner of Athletics for CIF Southern Section.