SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – High school football and other sports typically played in the fall have been pushed to the winter and spring months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Interscholastic Federation announced Monday.

According to a statement by the CIF, football, along with volleyball, water polo, cross country, traditional competitive cheer, field hockey, gymnastics, skiing and snowboarding, are impacted. Meanwhile, regional and state championships have been reduced to one week for all sports.

The CIF said the delayed sports would likely begin in December or January, depending on the CIF section. Bay Area counties are covered by five separate sections (North Coast, Sac-Joaquin, San Francisco, Oakland and Central Coast.)

For volleyball, water polo, and cross country, playoffs and state championships would be in March. Meanwhile football and cheer would hold championships in April. Playoff schedules for the other sports would be determined by each section.

Winter sports, including basketball, soccer and wrestling, will also have their seasons pushed into spring, with championships scheduled for June. Spring sports that have had championships previously scheduled for May, such as swimming, tennis and track, will also have championships in June.

“We are continuously monitoring the directives and guidelines released from the Governor’s Office, the California Department of Education, the California Department of Public Health, and local county health departments and agencies as these directives and guidelines are followed by our member schools/school districts with student health and safety at the forefront,” the organization said in a statement.

The CIF also announced that certain bylaws had been suspended due to the delay, allowing for students to participate on an outside team at the same time they participate on their school team.

Delaying the start of high school sports comes as the state sees a rise in the number of COVID-19 infections statewide and with most school districts in California beginning the year under distance learning.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate that we can’t start as soon as possible, but it’s better than not having a season,” said Dat Huynh, a senior who plays football at Pioneer High School in San Jose.

“It’s unfortunate, yes. But we have to stay safe,” said senior Jesse Miller, quarterback for Oak Grove High School in San Jose.

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as we get to play,” said senior Louis Barber, a football player and track athlete at Oak Grove High School.

High School football on Friday nights in the fall is a tradition. The excitement of games and thrilling finishes will be missing, as well as
the fun social occasion for students and families.

“As educators, we all want to have seasons for our athletes, but we want to do it in a safe way and I think postponing the fall season is definitely the right call,” said Superintendent of East Side Union High School District in San Jose Chris Funk.

Some multi-sport athletes will be the most affected because they will
have to choose between sports if there is a conflict.

But one football player said the delay could help him off the field.

“This delay could be good for the school year. It will allow us to focus on our education a lot more. I just hope we have a season, not wait to the last minute and tell us it’s cancelled,” said Devyn Parker, a wide receiver at Oak Grove High School.

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that schools that are located in counties on the state’s COVID-19 watch list, which includes nearly all of the Bay Area, cannot reopen for in-person instruction until they are off the list for two consecutive weeks.

Len Ramirez contributed to this story.

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