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High school football in California won't begin until December or January due to COVID-19

Sam Cooper
·4-min read

High school football in the state of California will not begin until December at the earliest.

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) announced Monday that the sports season for the upcoming school year will begin with a modified schedule, beginning in December 2020 or January 2021. The unprecedented alteration is due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The CIF, which is divided into 10 sections throughout the state, said each individual section will determine their own calendar “to reflect regular season starting and ending dates,” as well as playoffs.

“It is anticipated that most Section start dates will commence in December 2020 or January 2021,” the CIF said in a statement.

Due to a recent surge in coronavirus cases, most California schools are planning to start the upcoming academic year by offering only online classes. According to the Los Angeles Times, high school football practices were scheduled to begin Aug. 3 with games to follow beginning Aug. 21. Now, after Monday’s news, practices won’t begin until December with the season likely extending into mid-April.

“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 CIF said.

(via California Interscholastic Federation)
(via California Interscholastic Federation)

Florida moving forward despite spike

While California is halting sports this fall, Florida seems to be pushing right ahead.

The Florida High School Athletic Association board of directors voted to keep its fall sports schedule intact after a lengthy meeting on Monday, according to the Florida Times-Union.

Fall sports in the state will start next Monday, though schools are not required to start by that date.

There were more than 3.8 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Monday night, according to The New York Times, and more than 140,000 deaths attributed to it. The country set a new single-day record on Thursday, recording more than 75,000 new cases alone.

Florida had more than 360,000 confirmed cases, the third-most in the country behind only New York and California, and set a stunning new state record earlier this month with more than 15,000 new cases in a single day. The state is averaging more than 11,000 new cases a day over the past week.

“A lot of this may be moot because we may get shut down again,” Wewahitchka athletic director Bobby Johns said, via the Times-Union.

Other states to follow?

According to USA Today, high school football in the fall has already been canceled in Virginia, New Mexico and Washington D.C. Additionally, 11 states other than California to move to delay the season are Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia.

Football hotbeds like Texas and Florida are still moving forward toward a season, though decisions from both states could be coming.

In Texas, officials of the University Interscholastic League, which oversees high school sports in the state, is also expected to make a Monday announcement.

Officials in Georgia voted Monday to push the start its season back two weeks to Sept. 4, according to CBS 46 in Atlanta.

What will college prospects do?

A growing trend in college football in recent years has been top high school prospects graduating early in order to enroll at their university in January. The decision gives these players a full semester head start to get acquainted with college life and allows them to participate in spring football practice.

With the season officially starting late in California, one prospect has decided to skip out on his senior season altogether. Victory Vaka, a three-star defensive tackle from Westlake Village, California, who is committed to Texas A&M, announced Monday that he will head to College Station in January, causing him to miss his final season of high school ball.

Don’t be surprised if other top prospects — not just in California — make a similar move. Of Rivals.com’s top 250 players in the country in the class of 2021, 24 come from California. That includes No. 1 overall recruit Korey Foreman, a defensive end from Corona. Foreman, who was once committed to Clemson but opened up his recruitment in April, said he would opt for college over his senior season.

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