BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — We’re just two weeks away from the official start of high school football practice — and six weeks away from the season’s kickoff. Or we would be if this were a typical year.
Instead, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re left to wonder if we will have high school sports at all this fall. We will know for sure on Monday, but we already have some strong indications of where this is headed.
High schools sports schedules were heavily impacted by the pandemic this past spring, but that’s starting to look like a minor inconvenience compared to what may be ahead. Officials with the California Interscholastic Federation, the state’s governing body for high school sports, are contemplating pulling the plug on fall sports completely.
Yes, that includes that great autumn ritual, high school football. The announcement from CIF’s Sacramento office is due July 20.
This past week Rob Wigod, commissioner for the Southern Section — that’s greater L.A.– dropped broad hints in a radio interview that the entire high school sports schedule will be erased for the rest of the 2020 calendar year. High school football would be pushed all the way back to a January start.
Ryan Tos, the CIF’s Central Section commissioner, told KGET what he expects to happen.
“Rob Wigod, the Southern Section commissioner, has been doing this much, much longer than I (have) and has a really good grasp of how things are going, not only in his section but across the state,” Tos said. “The January start is definitely an option.
“And I think that some of our coaches, administrators, that are really keeping track of things — they’ve seen what the junior colleges have decided to do, they’ve seen some of the moves that some of the Division I conferences across the country have done, and I don’t think a January start will be a huge surprise to a lot of people at this point in time.”
Tos emphasizes that the call is not his to make, and we don’t know what that call might be. But things are more dire in California than they were when this possibility first came up in April.
And with the Kern High School District voting Wednesday to join dozens of California school districts in starting the upcoming fall semester in distance learning mode, the handwriting seems to be on the wall.
High school sports starting in January? We’ll know Monday.