CIF Southern Section Lays Out Sports Calendar for New School Year

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

The CIF Southern Section has announced its long-awaited decision on the fate of the sports calendar 2020-2021 school year.

As expected, a number of changes were made to help accommodate for the current Covid-19 Pandemic, which everyone hopes a cure or vaccination will soon be found for.

Traditionally, the sports calendar has followed a three-season format with Fall, Winter and Spring sports.

That has been reduced to just Fall and Spring seasons. However, the designated Fall season will actually be played in the winter. As a result, some sports have changed seasons.

“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,” CIF Southern Section Commissioner Rob Wigod said in a statement.

While there are changes, Wigod wanted assure all that many things will stay the same.

“The length of the regular seasons will be 90 percent to 100 percent of what they normally are. No reduction in the number of maximum allowable contests in each sport. Section championships, we will have the same number of champion in each sport, the same number of divisions in each sport.” Wigod said in his press conference via Zoom.

Wigod addressed the concern of spectators at sporting events, as many sporting events that have picked up are now playing without fans.

“This will be up the schools and their local health authorities as to whether spectators would be allowed inside a gymnasium or a football stadium and anywhere else where a spectator would want to be,” he said via Zoom.  “If a decision to play without fans or a decision not to play or not play at all, I believe our schools are going to want to play. They are going to want these activities to happen even if the health authorities and the particular time frame don’t allow for spectators.”

Kayla Wrobel of Burroughs looks for an open teammate. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

Wigod also gave the reason for having two seasons.

“We’re trying to have some separation between the two seasons to allow for dual-sport athletes and coaches who coach more than one sport and for maximizing the use of school facilities,” he said.

Most teams will not have any games until January 2021. Athletes will also be allowed to compete for their high school teams simultaneously with their club sports teams.

The Fall season will most likely begin with Cross Country, for which teams can be competing on Saturday December 26.

Football teams will be allowed to begin practicing on December 14, with games scheduled to begin January 8. The football regular season will end on March 12, which will be the date of the annual Burbank-Burroughs Big Game clash.

Brandon Pena of Burbank High on a reverse. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

Boys volleyball will move to the Fall season along with the girls, which will create difficulty for coaches and athletic directors in finding time for both to occupy gymnasiums.

The first date allowable for a boys’ volleyball contest is December 12. For girls’ volleyball contests, the first date allowable is December 19.

Boys water polo remains in the Fall and will be allowed to play its first contest on December 21. Girls water polo, which is traditionally a Winter season sport, will essentially remain in place. It will be allowed to begin December 28.

The Spring season will begin in late February and March 2021.

Girls’ tennis teams can start their first matches on February 22.

Boys and girls soccer teams can begin playing their first matches on February 27.

Boys’ tennis teams can begin matches on March 1.

Boys and girls basketball teams may begin playing games on March 12, which is generally when the traditional season is over.

Boys and girls swimming teams can begin with meets on March 13.

Baseball and softball may both begin their season on March 19.

Boys and girls track and field can begin meets on March 20, meaning many of the long distance runners will have little to no break in between it and the cross country season.

Jayla Flowers of Burbank High.

“Although no break would provide a quick turnover, the proposed schedule will be difficult to adjust to,” Burbank High’s top returning cross country runner Andres Leon said. “Practicing is definitely going to be interesting as we will have to experience a different training plan.”

The boys and girls golf seasons have been put together and may begin on March 20.

Thomas Boulanger, who is a middle school athletic director and the father of Burroughs girls’ basketball star Faith Boulanger, expressed his concerns.

“Some multi-sport athletes may have to choose between sports,” he said. “Unsigned players will need to choose between AAU or high school, especially basketball and softball.”

Lincoln Melcher of Burroughs

Burroughs golf star Lincoln Melcher, who will be a junior and is already committed to UCLA, spoke of the new schedule, which could extend his season into June.

“I’m glad that we are all getting the opportunity to return to high school golf in the spring,” he said. “We were unsatisfied with how quickly our season this year came to an end as we really felt we had a chance at going far in CIF, but we are even more excited for next year.”

Melcher said he doesn’t think his personal tournament schedule will conflict with the high school season.

“Most larger tournaments have multiple qualifier dates, so I think I will be able to work around our schedule,” Melcher said. “Even if I end up playing fewer non-school tournaments in June, as long as I’m competing, it’s okay with me.”