With new state guidance, spring high school sports may have playoffs this year

A portrait of Ron Nocetti.
Ron Nocetti, CIF executive director, says a restriction limiting teams to playing opponents only in adjoining counties appears to have been lifted.

Updated youth sports guidance from the California Department of Public Health could make it possible for the Southern Section to hold playoffs for certain spring sports.

Ron Nocetti, executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation, said Wednesday he still needed to clarify with the health department to make sure he understood the update correctly, but he said: “I think it opens up possibilities to sections that still have championships to look at that possibility.”

The big update: “Inter-team competitions, meets, races, or similar events are permitted to occur only with other teams within the state. “


Nocetti’s interpretation is that a prior restriction that limited teams to playing opponents only in an adjoining county has been lifted. Of course, counties can still impose stricter conditions than the state, which could create obstacles.

“The way I see it, it provides more flexibility for contests between two schools,” Nocetti said. “It seems to provide flexibility to playing teams outside of an adjoining county for games between two schools. It still requires permission from all counties involving any multi-team event.”

Southern Section spokesman Thom Simmons said the CIF — the governing body for high school athletics in most of Southern California — was reviewing the guidance and talking to member schools. An announcement on whether the section will hold playoffs for spring sports competition is expected Monday.

If playoffs are not held in certain sports, then coaches could organize their own regional competitions.