CIF announces guidelines for return of high school sports

by Steven Felschundneff |

The executive board of the California Interscholastic Federation issued a statement this week announcing that the California Department of Public Health has given the go ahead for high school sports competition to resume on January 25, 2021. The statement also includes detailed guidelines for each sport to return to play in the safest way possible.


The return to play is not guaranteed, however, because the public health department plans to revisit the issue on January 4. If the coronavirus outbreak is still surging at that time, competition could still be delayed or even scrapped.


The guidance from public health mirrors the overall COVID-19 risk, so if the county is in the most restrictive, purple tier, then sports will also operate under the most restrictive protocols.


Los Angeles County, along with 90 percent of the state is in the purple tier, the most restrictive, so the only sports allowed to compete come January 25 are: cross country, golf, swimming and diving, tennis and track and field. If the county advances to the red, or substantial, tier then baseball, field hockey, girls lacrosse, and softball would be added.


The county will have to advance to the moderate tier for badminton, football, gymnastics, boys lacrosse, soccer, volleyball, and water polo to compete. Finally, the region would have to be in a minimal, yellow tier, for basketball, cheerleading and wrestling to get the go ahead.


“Everyone in California wants students to be able to return to in-person learning, sports, and all other co-curricular activities that are so important for their physical and mental well-being,” the statement read.


For now the order allows for physical conditioning practices to continue, including skill building and training as long as they are done outdoors.


Competitions, meets and races are authorized only if both teams are located in the same county or if teams are located in immediately bordering counties. Out-of-state competition is not allowed at this time.


Any tournaments or events that involve more than two teams are not currently

permitted in California. Exceptions may be made, with authorization from the local health department, for the sports where individual competitors from multiple teams are routine like track and field, cross-country, tennis and golf.


Schools must still follow all guidelines from their local, county and board of education for the district.


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