Bus drivers shortage forcing changes in schedule for LAUSD football, volleyball

Lincoln receiver Jaden Rattay
Lincoln receiver Jaden Rattay will be able to play Franklin at 7 p.m. Friday after all other LAUSD games were moved to day games because of a bus driver shortage.
(Chris Rattay)

Los Angeles Unified School District athletes spent 18 months unable to play sports because of COVID-19 protocols and now many are facing more obstacles because of a shortage of bus drivers following a mandate that they must be vaccinated.

According to a district email sent to athletic directors Tuesday morning, effective this week because of a shortage of vaccinated drivers, all athletic competition must begin at 4 p.m. or earlier. The first sports affected are football games this week and playoff volleyball matches next week. Basketball games next month will follow the same rules.

Trent Cornelius, the district’s sports director, said Tuesday night the email has been recalled because it was inaccurate in blaming the drivers shortage solely on the vaccination mandate. He said the shortage has existed for weeks.

LAUSD has been scrambling to accommodate schools that still want to play in the evening. Schools also have been given the option to find private buses, use private transportation or switch games to Saturday.


Most football teams still wanting to play on Friday night will be able to do so. Lincoln (8-0) is scheduled to play Franklin (7-1) in the Kenny Washington Memorial Game to decide the Northern League championship. Lincoln coach Gabriel Cotero said the game has received approval to be played at 7 p.m.

Andy Moran, football coach at Eagle Rock and president of the coaches’ association, said, “The district didn’t think this was going to be as big a problem as it is.”

Fairfax has filled out paperwork to transport players by private vehicle so it can play a night football game on Friday at Palisades, athletic director Shane Cox said. Banning still intends to host Narbonne at 7 p.m. on Friday. The girls’ volleyball playoffs begin next week and the City Section sent out an email saying the matches would take place at 4 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.

District employees were required to be vaccinated as of Oct. 15.