CIF Southern Section commissioner says no changes to modified 2020-21 high school sports calendar

CIF Southern Section commissioner Rob Wigod speaks during Thursday's virtual CIF Council meeting.
CIF Southern Section commissioner Rob Wigod speaks during Thursday’s virtual CIF Council meeting.
(Screenshot by Matt Szabo)

The CIF Southern Section is planning no changes to the 2020-21 modified high school sports calendars that were introduced in July, commissioner Rob Wigod said at Thursday’s virtually held section council meeting.

Wigod said the calendars remain in place and he anticipates high school sports starting again in mid-December with clearance from health officials during the COVID-19 pandemic. The modified fall sports season includes football, boys’ and girls’ volleyball, boys’ and girls’ water polo, boys’ and girls’ cross-country, field hockey, gymnastics and traditional competitive cheerleading.

“I’ve had schools ask me about are we going to be making adjustments to those calendars, and the answer at this point is no,” Wigod said. “The reason for that is that we wanted to give you as much time as possible, when we announced these calendars in July, so that you could prepare for that mid-December launch ... If we were changing it up again at this point, we realize what disruption that means and how difficult that is going to be.”

Wigod said he has received many positive reports from member schools that are back on campus with students, who are doing Phase I conditioning workouts during the pandemic while following health and safety protocols. The Newport-Mesa Unified School District started such workouts on Aug. 17, followed by Huntington Beach Union High School District on Aug. 24.

The Huntington Beach Union High School District began allowing its schools to resume athletics workouts on Monday. The plan to bring back sports has three phases and categorizes sports by a risk level of low, moderate or high.

He added that each sport will have section championships at the end of the season.

“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.”

Soccer rule change approved

The only action item on Thursday’s CIF Southern Section Council agenda was a change to the red card rule in boys’ and girls’ soccer.

The council voted 83-7, with one league abstaining, to approve the change. Players who are issued a “soft” red card (two yellow cards) will now be ejected from the current match, but will be able to play in the team’s next match. Those who receive a “hard” red card would still be prohibited from playing in or attending the next match.

Under the current rules, players who receive two yellow cards are suspended from the next match.

Ryan Sharp of the Raincross Conference, which introduced the item, said the new rules would put soccer more in line with other sports like basketball and water polo, in which players can foul out of the current game and not be disciplined for the next one. He noted that yellow cards are often a nonviolent penalty.

Newport Harbor High School girls’ soccer coach Justin Schroeder said he was fine with the change.

“I think it makes sense for the high school season,” he said. “It stops punishing kids for playing the game and committing simple fouls and nonviolent fouls, which I think you see more in the yellow card range ... Because it’s such a short season, you don’t want kids missing games for things that would otherwise be fairly minor.”

The next CIF Southern Section meeting is an Executive Committee meeting scheduled for Jan. 14.

There have been 493 high school transfers reported in the first three months compared to 3,009 last year, amid uncertainty about the sports season.

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