Despite ruling, all plans are subject to CDPH and county guidelines
High school athletes could be a step closer to the playing field this week following recent rulings by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) and North Coast Section (NCS).
The governing body for state high school sports, the CIF held a Zoom call with commissioners of each of California’s 11 sections on Jan. 14, in an effort to provide guidance on a path that might allow teams to begin play.
North Coast Section Commissioner Pat Cruickshank then relayed the results of the CIF meeting to league officers.
“With input from our member schools and league commissioners, the Executive Committee took action today to move forward with our calendar by giving leagues the autonomy to build their season of sport calendars around the guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the local counties that their league resides in and the approval of their member schools and districts,” Cruickshank said. “This action will be subject to approval by the Board of Managers at their Jan. 29 meeting. What this means is, if approved as presented, leagues will set their seasons of sport based on the color tier that their county resides in and the sports allowed in that tier.”
However, the best laid plans could all be for naught if Sonoma and other counties remain in the purple tier, with the current stay-at-home order in place.
Under a color-coded tiered system developed by the CDPH, purple-tier sports such as cross country, track and field, golf and tennis could potentially resume by Feb. 1 if the county is no longer under a stay-at-home order.
The prospects of starting up red tier sports like baseball and softball seem reasonable, albeit subject to the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. Football and basketball are classified as orange and yellow tier sports respectively and hopes of salvaging any type of season are growing dim. High School and most youth level sports in Sonoma County have been sidelined since last March.
“Obviously, the leagues would have to adhere to the CDPH guidelines on which sports could be played in each of the four colored tiers,” Analy Director of Athletics Joe Ellwood said. “The NBL is in the process of creating schedules for the ‘Purple’ and ‘Red’ tier sports at this time. We are most likely going to split up the ‘Purple’ tier sports to avoid some conflicts. One idea is to start cross country, girl’s tennis and girls golf sometime in February (if possible due to regional restrictions) and then start the other ‘Purple’ tier sports; boy’s golf, boy’s tennis, swimming and track a little later. Baseball and softball, our ‘Red’ tier sports, could most likely start sometime in March as long as we have progressed to the ‘Red’ tier," he added.
Let them play rally draws big crowd
Dozens of athletes, coaches and parents turned out on Friday for a “Let them Play” rally at Windsor High School, an event and part of a growing movement organized by parents all over the state.
The local rally drew folks from as far away as Middletown, in an effort to promote a safe return to the field for kids.