Bay Area high school sports on pause: Where things stand after holidays

When the California Department of Public Health released its long-awaited youth sports guidelines in mid-December, it stated that while nothing would start before Jan. 25, it would reassess the situation by Jan. 4.
Well, Jan. 4 came and went without a reassessment — at least a public one — by the CDPH.
The Bay Area News Group reached out Monday to the California Interscholastic Federation, the state’s governing body for high school athletics, to see if there was an update.
There was not.
“It’s my understanding the return to play date remains January 25 unless changed by CDPH so that’s what we’re going with at this time,” a CIF spokesperson said.
An email to the CDPH was not immediately returned.
So at this point, Jan. 25 remains the target.
But is that a realistic target, given that 54 of the state’s 58 counties and 99.6% of the state’s population remain in the purple (widespread) tier in California’s tracking system, as of the most recent update on Dec. 29?
We’re about to find out.
In the meantime, the high school community isn’t sitting quietly.
As the Bay Area News Group’s Shayna Rubin reported Sunday, one Bay Area football coach has gotten organized in hopes of having a season for his kids before the school year ends.
Five days before Christmas, Serra’s Patrick Walsh started the Golden State HS Football Coaches Community in an effort to persuade health officials to ease some restrictions and provide protocols for a football season.
Walsh’s goal is for the CDPH to move high-contact outdoor sports such as football from the orange (moderate) tier to the red (substantial) tier in the youth sports guidelines.
“Just give us a chance, just give us a chance,” Walsh said last week. “Other states have given their high schools a chance, and we haven’t had that. And that’s maddening for us.”
Walsh’s launch of the Golden State HS Football Coaches Community came on the heels of CIF executive director Ron Nocetti telling the Bay Area News Group last month that his office had initially advocated for all sports to be played in the red and purple tiers.
“The California Department of Public Health has to look at all factors — not just high school sports, but all sports,” Nocetti said. “We understand that. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to advocate our position.”
When the CIF postponed fall sports last summer, it had hoped for teams to be back on the field in December and for football games to start this week. But with no guidelines from the CDPH, the CIF announced on Dec. 1 that it would push pause again until further guidance from state health officials.
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