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CIF-SS cancels Fall Sports Championships, no changes to regular season

The CIF-SS announced that its fall sports championships will be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that does not mean that the regular season schedules are cancelled. 

“There has not been enough progress made from the purple tier toward the orange tier for football, girls volleyball, and boys/girls water polo to even begin competition this season,” the release said. 

In December, the CIF released its four-tier system that is divided into widespread (purple), substantial (red), moderate (orange) and minimal (yellow) to outline how safe it would be for student-athletes to compete against one another.

As of last week, all counties in the state except four in Northern California were still in the purple tier.

“We are not cancelling the entire seasons for our fall sports. We are canceling the portion of the fall sports seasons that we have direct control over, Southern Section Championships,” the release said. “Hopefully, the additional weeks now available during the fall sports season will be useful to our school in the effort to have regular season and/or league competition in the time ahead.”

San Juan Hills athletic director and football coach Rob Frith said he was disappointed when he heard the news. 

“It’s a sad day that the CIF is being forced to make this decision,” Frith said. “The championships are something you look forward to and play for. There was rumor, and we thought this was a decision they had to make, but I get it and they are trying to extend the season as much as possible. It was the only decision they were left with.”

As for spring sports, their schedule will remain in place with the original schedule released by the CIF in July.

Notable start dates for spring sports will include boys and girls soccer on Feb. 27, boys and girls basketball on March 12 and baseball and softball on March 19. Baseball and softball are in the substantial (red) tier, soccer is in the moderate (orange) tier and basketball is in the minimal (yellow) tier.

“At some point in early or mid-April, we will determine if we are able to conduct Southern Section Championships in our Spring Sports,” the release said. 

California was just one of 16 states who didn’t have high school football this fall as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the state with 3 million total cases and 33,742 deaths. Orange County, specifically, has seen 223,000 total cases and 2,367 deaths. 

“These are extremely difficult times for everyone involved,” the release said. “This may be the darkest period we have experienced throughout the 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. We look ahead, the holidays are now behind us, although the surge from that time frame is still being felt and is hopefully close to ending. Vaccines are arriving and inoculations are happening every day. Perhaps we will see case rates, hospitalizations, and deaths begin to decrease and relief will come to our health care system.”

Coaches like Frith are still providing workouts for their players and are keeping sharp for the day they get the news that they can play. 

But he said you have to have patience. 

“We are all in this together,” Frith said. “People have to just keep their heads up.”

The CIF is planning a press conference at 1 p.m.  

Ryan was born and raised in Dana Point went to Dana Hills High School. He graduated from Sacramento State University with a BA in Journalism. Throughout his career as a sports journalist, he has covered high schools, colleges, and professional teams. After working for multiple newspapers in as many states, he came to the conclusion that what he really wanted was to make sure the high schools in his hometown area got the sports coverage they deserved. Follow him on Twitter @rskuhn

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