Speaking at a CIF Southern Section council meeting last week, commissioner Rob Wigod indicated that there would be no forthcoming changes to the 2020-21 sports calendar. Back in July, Wigod introduced major modifications to the sports schedule for the 2020-21 school year, which pushed the start date for fall sports to mid-December and January.
“We have seen so many different things develop over the last several months and it has been extremely difficult to keep up with all the dynamics involved,” Wigod said in a statement. “However, what I want to assure you is there is one thing that will not change and that is our 2020-2021 sports calendars.”
That means the CIF’s original plan remains in place with boys’ volleyball slated to be the first sport to begin play, on Dec. 12. Girls’ volleyball is scheduled to begin one week later, followed by boys’ and girls’ water polo and cross country with start dates in December. Football maintains its Jan. 8 start date for competition, with practices slated to begin on Dec. 14.
Of course, the schedule remains contingent upon health department guidelines, plus school district and high school administration clearance. With the first competition just over two months away, Wigod felt it was important to provide some consistency for schools, allowing them to properly prepare for a tumultuous season without any further alterations.
“They are in place and they are not changing,” said Wigod of the sports calendars during last week’s virtual meeting. “I’ve had schools ask me if we are going to be making adjustments to those calendars and the answer at this point is no. The reason for that is we wanted to give you as much time as possible when we announced these calendars in July so you could prepare for that mid-December launch all the way through to mid-June. If we were changing it up again, at this point, as we get closer to mid-December, we realized what a disruption that means and how difficult that is going to be.”
During the meeting, Wigod indicated that he’s received positive reports from schools and school districts who have resumed modified conditioning programs on campus. LBUSD high schools have gone back-and-forth with on-campus workouts over the summer, but at the present moment, teams are permitted to conduct off-season conditioning with safeguards in place.
“Our member schools have done a remarkable job of arranging schedules and making plans for what lies ahead,” Wigod added in his statement. “I truly appreciate the incredible efforts they have made in service to our student-athletes. Hopefully, progress will continue to be made in getting our students back on campus for academics and athletics as we forge on through these unprecedented times.”
Wigod also addressed a common question about the upcoming year, and how the postseason might be impacted. As collegiate and professional sports leagues have shown, positive COVID-19 tests can derail a team’s season and cause games to be postponed or canceled. Multiple MLB and NFL teams have dealt with mini-outbreaks during the course of their seasons, and the upcoming high school season could be susceptible to those same challenges. Even so, Wigod reiterated that the CIF would forge ahead with playoffs and divisions unchanged.
“We are going to have a destination for our schools that return to play,” Wigod said. “There may be variances in what some of those section championships might look like. You might look at a girls’ volleyball division, let’s say Division 3, with 14 schools that are eligible in that division. Maybe Division 4 has 24 schools. But we’re going to continue on with the schools and the divisions they’re supposed to be in, and try to do our very best to provide that championship experience.”