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California High Schools Push Back Fall and Winter Sports


On July 20, after several months of debate and public pressure, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) announced that the 2020-21 school year will begin with a modified sports schedule due to COVID-19. Unlike a normal year, where high school sports are divided into fall, winter, and spring seasons, this year sports will be combined into just two: winter and spring. 

CIF is home to over 800,000 high school athletes and broken up into 10 sections. While the federation did announce which season a sport will fall under this year, along with the final date of Section and/or Regional/State Championships, it is up to each individual section to release their own calendar of the regular season along with the starting and ending dates of Section Playoffs.

 Following this announcement by the CIF, the North Coast Section (NCS), which is the section Berkeley High School (BHS) falls under, announced its own plan for the 2020-21 school year. Cross country, field hockey, football, cheerleading, volleyball, and water polo will be considered winter sports and will begin their seasons December 14 and end anytime between late March and mid April depending on the success of their team. Badminton, baseball, basketball, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, and wrestling will all be considered spring sports and will begin their seasons late February or mid March, and end anytime in late May through June. 

NCS also explained that the length of the fall and spring seasons within NCS will be shorter for each sport, but the number of allowed games will not change. This means that a sport that generally allows 20 games in a regular season will still be allowed those 20 games, but simply in a smaller time window. 

Another key aspect of this modified calendar for the 2020-21 school year is that there will be a temporary suspension of bylaws. This means that “students will be allowed to participate on an outside team at the same time they participate on their high school team,” per the NCS announcement. 

These changes in high school sports for this school year pose some serious issues for multi-sport athletes. Many students at BHS participate in more than one sport during the academic year, and with compressed seasons, it is unclear how students will be able to continue this.

Another problem that will undoubtedly arise will be finding space at BHS for practices. Football and field hockey will need to somehow share the Jacket field in the winter, and lacrosse and soccer will be battling for field space during the spring. 

It is unclear how BHS will address these issues for student athletes. However, we know we will be cheering on our fellow Jackets one way or another during this unique school year.