Postseason competition for football, boys and girls’ cross country, girls’ volleyball, and boys and girls water polo for the 2020-21 season were cancelled by the CIF-Southern Section Tuesday morning, stating not enough progress has been made in the state regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

High school sports were cancelled in mid-March 2020 when the pandemic began, and CIF-Southern Section officials had hoped to begin some fall season sports in December and others this month.

“There has not been enough progress made from the purple tier toward the orange tier for football, girls’ volleyball and boys and girls water polo to even begin competition this season,” CIF-Southern Section Commissioner of Athletics Rob Wigod said. “Subsequently, there will not be sufficient time for those sports to conduct viable league play, which is necessary for us to be able to conduct Section Championships in those sports.”

He said it is impossible for boys and girls’ cross country to compete in its CIF-Southern Section preliminaries and championship meets because it is not realistic to have runners from seven counties at a single location. The CIF-Southern Section cross country preliminaries and finals were set to be held this season at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.

Mr. Wigod said it is now up to schools to schedule games for football, cross country, girls’ volleyball and boys and girls water polo, but those sports cannot begin competing until the state reaches the proper tier for those sports.

Don Lugo High athletic director James Donoho said Tuesday the schools are just waiting for the county and state to ease restrictions before moving forward.

“We can be in the orange tier, but if we are still in the stay-at-home order, we can’t compete,” he said. “What they are doing puts us in even more limbo. We don’t have an answer. I don’t know what to say or do.”

At Ontario Christian High, which has won two straight CIF-Southern Section and CIF State girls’ volleyball championships, athletic director David Parkes said Tuesday’s announcement is extremely disappointing for student-athletes, their families, and coaches.

“It’s not what we wanted. We hoped for better, but its where we are and we’ll just have to keep moving on,” Mr. Parkes said.

He said it is still possible regular season games could be played this season.

“I don’t think we are going to give up hope that it is still feasible. I don’t think that’s fair to our kids to give up on that. We’re going to hold on to that until we are told it’s not a possibility,” Mr. Parkes said.

All Chino Valley and Ontario Christian high school sports teams are allowed to condition with coronavirus limitations in place, such as social distancing and no sharing of equipment and no indoor gatherings.

“It’s pretty limited what you can do as far as contact and all that,” Mr. Parkes said. “We are doing everything we can to create some sort of opportunity for our kids to compete. We don’t know what that is going to look like. I think a lot of questions will be answered in the next couple of weeks. It’s tough. It’s really hard on our kids and their families.”

Cross country, swimming, diving, tennis and track and field is allowed in the California’s widespread (purple) tier, which all but four counties in the state are in currently; baseball and softball are allowed in the substantial (orange) tier; football, soccer, volleyball and water polo are allowed in the moderate (orange); and basketball, cheerleading and wrestling are allowed in the minimal (yellow) tier.

Without playoff competition, Mr. Wigod said boys and girls’ cross country must conclude its regular season by Saturday, March 27; football by Saturday, April 17; and girls’ volleyball and girls and boys water polo by Saturday, March 20.

“We are not cancelling the entire seasons for our fall sports, we are cancelling the portion of the fall sports seasons that we have direct control over—Southern Section Championships,” Mr. Wigod said. “Hopefully, the additional weeks now available during the fall sports season will be useful to our schools in the effort to have regular season and league competition in the time ahead.”

Mr. Wigod said the CIF-Southern Section is supporting schools to return to play as long as state and county health guidelines regarding the coronavirus pandemic are followed.

“We will continue to do all we can to advocate our position to those entities as well,” Mr. Wigod said.

The commissioner said the schedule for spring sports remains in place, and officials could decide in early- to mid-April if playoff competition will take place.

“Several of our spring sports are in the purple tier, which means they can begin as planned, again, provided there is not a stay-at-home order currently in effect in Southern California,” Mr. Wigod said. “Also, if progress can be made moving forward, we are hopeful that other sports will be able to join those in the purple tier when they reach the appropriate tier for those sports.”

Mr. Wigod acknowledged that this an extremely difficult time for student-athletes and their parents.

“This may be the darkest period we have experienced throughout the 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “As we look ahead, the holidays are now behind us, although the surge from that time frame is still being felt and is hopefully close to ending. I know you join me in the belief that we must go forward doing everything possible on behalf of our student-athletes."

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