With Santa Barbara county now in the purple tier of California’s 3 tier covid plan, meaning COVID-19 cases are increasing heavily every day, many shops and restaurants are shut down in and around Santa Barbara county. This matter will significantly impact many public schools. One of the main impacts is how high school sports programs are going to continue. Many of the “fall” sports seasons were supposed to be starting in early December. They were supposed to begin doing full-contact practices and even games against other schools. This has changed as the COVID-19 cases have risen all across California, and the CIF association was forced to make changes to high school sports immediately.
High school sports for the “fall” season (sports that we originally supposed to be during the fall, but got moved to winter due to COVID issues) in Santa Barbara County were originally supposed to start on December 14th, and they were going to be able to play against other high school teams on January 7th or 8th. These plans have changed due to the massive spike in COVID-19 cases. The CIF is currently working on making a schedule that will work for both the fall and spring seasons of high school sports.
Many blows and setbacks have come with the sports season having to be rebuilt. One blow was that there would be no full-contact practices for fall sports until CIF said otherwise. With no full-contact practices, it is going to be very hard for teams to build chemistry and to get better as a team, which also causes a delay of when official games will be played for high school sports teams. This setback causes a snowball effect that can hurt CIF as a whole. This snowball effect of no practices and games causes one of the biggest turnouts to the CIF tournament in CIF history. There will be no CIF playoffs or championships for all fall season sports teams. Due to all the setbacks and issues that come with trying to fit two sports season into one, the CIF has decided that all fall sports season will (if COVID-19 cases began to ease and there is a season) compete in one regular season, and then be done, though this season may be longer to compensate for there being no playoffs. This has caused a ton of controversy among sports programs, as they train their playoffs to make it to the CIF playoffs, but it is what must be done to fit both seasons into a little more than a semester of school.
Another statement by the CIF also showed that boys volleyball would be moved to season two (winter/spring season) as they had already lost their season last year due to the spark of COVID-19 back in March. Originally, boys volleyball was to be played in season one to save gym space for both boys and girls basketball during season two, but it was moved to compensate for the missed time boys volleyball had last year.
COVID-19 has affected all of the high school sports across California, and as of Santa Barbara county sports, it is not looking bright. However, nothing is set in stone, as anything can happen in the next coming weeks, whether good or bad. The CIF organization is working hard right now to produce the best schedule for high school sports programs to have a safe and successful season. Once again though, there can be no sports unless the COVID-19 cases begin to drop in Santa Barbara County, which is not what is happening now. However, sports can return to full practices and even games for the public to enjoy if we all social distance, wear a mask, and stay home until it is safe to do otherwise, in doing that, we confirm the safety and enjoyment for millions of others going through the same struggles as us.
*Photo Courtesy of Noozhawk