Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the state of California’s high school athletes will not compete in fall sports as scheduled. On Monday, the California Interscholastic Federation announced that it will push its sports calendar back to December or January.
Each of the CIF’s 10 sections can decide when to start certain sports, as well as how long a season for each of its sports are, but the CIF has set deadlines for when each sport will hold championships.
“Each CIF Section will release their own calendar to reflect regular season starting and ending dates and Section playoffs,” the CIF said in a press release. “It is anticipated that most Section start dates will commence in December 2020 or January 2021.”
The CIF’s City and Southern Sections both announced that high school football practices will begin on Dec. 14, with games beginning on Jan. 8. Practices were originally set for Aug. 3 with games beginning on Aug. 21.
Mililani High School football coach Rod York can see Hawaii, and by extension the HHSAA, following a similar path. York has been at the helm at Mililani for 10 seasons, compiling a 96-29 career record, including the HHSAA Division I title in 2014. During his tenure, he’s also played against teams from California in both home and away games.
“It’s definitely a big one. It hits us in Hawaii because we kind of follow California as far as rules and what kind of direction they go,” York told KHON2’s Rob DeMello. “At the end of the day, it’s about safety. It’s about the people’s lives and keeping people safe. I just feel like it’s a good move because it gives us more time. We need time for a vaccine, we need time for more info on the virus. The experts are working day and night to try to keep us safe and it gives us time for supposedly the second wave to at least get towards the end of it.”
When asked if he would like to see high school football in Hawaii also moved to the winter, York said “for me personally, I’m the bottom of the totem pole. It’ll be up to the governor and (Hawaii Department of Education) and the principals and (athletic directors) to decide that. Whatever it is, they definitely have the best interest of the kids, parents and fans at hand and I’m all for it, whatever makes sense, let’s do it. The No. 1 sport in Hawaii is football and we need football. It just brings the morale up of communities, it’s a big money maker. Whether we do it in the fall or whether we do it in the spring, for us we’ll do it anytime, we’re just hoping for a season, we’re praying for a season and we could definitely use football in our lives right now.”
Regardless of when or if sports in Hawaii makes a return, York stresses the importance of safety and following the guidelines of medical experts as the pandemic continues.
“I always told my kids and a few parents that I’ve spoken with that in a confusing time as such, you gotta stick to the facts, and the facts come from the experts,” York said. “There’s a lot of views on this virus and the answer is we don’t know. I’m a teacher, I’m a driver’s ed instructor, I’m a football coach, I’m a mentor. I’m not a doctor so I’m not going to go make any comments on it. But I am going to listen to the experts that do report on it and stick to the facts. Anytime you stick to the facts, the facts and everything else becomes clearer.
“Right now, it’s important for us to social distance, it’s important for us to wear a mask. It’s not that hard to put that mask on. It’s important for us to use hand sanitizer and wash our hands a lot more frequently. Just be safe.”