High school athletics across California are still waiting for their roadmap to return to the competition, but the CIF state has recognized a backup plan for at least one sport if the approaching fall season is canceled.
But like so many things during the pandemic, even the backup plans are fraught with uncertainty.
CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti confirmed this week that if the sport of boy volleyball, scheduled to begin December 12, is canceled due to COVID-19, the state would move the sport to spring on its calendar.
The working theory, Nocetti explained, is that boy volleyball – traditionally a spring sport but moved to fall in the revised schedule – had already been canceled by the spring 2020 season due to the pandemic and would be worth a move to avoid another cancellation.
Nocetti said the possible shift for boy volleyball has been an idea since the new sports calendar was announced on July 20. Boy volleyball, he said, was moved to the fall to free gym time in the spring.
“We made it clear that if Season 1 (fall sports) were canceled, we would move boy volleyball back (to spring) because it would be unfair for that sport to be canceled two years in a row,” Nocetti said. “That is exactly what would happen if the season was canceled. We have not received any new information to indicate this at this time. ”
Athletics in high schools across the state continues to wait for the California Department of Public Health to release updated guidelines for competition. As of August 3, sports in high schools and young people have been limited to conditioning and skills training, and playing is prohibited.
Gavin Newsom said on Nov. 16 that he had signed new guidelines but put them on hold due to the increase in coronavirus cases.
Without updated state guidelines, high school sports in California will be sidelined.
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, no state has generally canceled high school athletics for this school year.
Nocetti’s comments on boy volleyball provide some insight into how high school leaders can tackle potential obstacles.
The boys’ volleyball season in the southern section starts on December 12th, the earliest start date for all fall sports.
The CIF state has been organizing regional playoffs in boy volleyball for several years now. From now on, the regionals are scheduled for around March 20.
The state backup plan creates natural demand for the southern section. If the fall season were canceled and the state moved boy volleyball to spring, would the southern section take a similar move and move the sport to spring?
“As Commissioner (Rob) Wigod has consistently stated, all options are on the table if that scenario arises,” said CIF-SS Assistant Commissioner and Spokesman Thom Simmons on Wednesday, November 25. “However, it is very difficult to speculate about that at the moment.”
Nocetti understands he doesn’t want to speculate. Sections have already adopted revised schedules to deal with unknowns caused by the pandemic.
“We’ve done a lot of different things this year,” he said.