State loosens rules for high school athletics
Teams no longer confined to competition in home county and those adjacent to it
High school sports teams in California will no longer be confined to competition in only their home county and those adjacent to it, health officials announced this week. Teams may schedule contests against anyone within state lines but not beyond California’s borders.
The California Department of Public Health on Tuesday updated its youth sports guidelines to remove the restrictions on games beyond bordering counties that had been in place since youth sports returned last month from a year-long hiatus.
The rule change comes as the first abridged season of spring sports is winding down and as schedules for Season 2 sports are being finalized. Football teams have only two weeks of competition left, while other Season 1 sports have come to a close. It could ease the burden of hosting postseason play but the North Coast Section has already canceled all playoffs for this spring. The Central Coast Section left open the possibility of playoffs for Season 2 sports but not those in Season 1, such as football.
CCS commissioner Dave Grissom said in a text message that the change increased the likelihood of postseason play but that there were “still many details to deal with first.” NCS commis
sioner Pat Cruickshank said his section’s postseason decision was made in January but that he was waiting on clarity from the California Interscholastic Federation, the statewide governing body.
The rule complicated scheduling for leagues that spanned multiple counties, like the West Catholic Athletic League, whose schools in Santa Clara County were not permitted to play those in San Francisco. Or the Tri-County Athletic League, where schools in Solano and Alameda counties were not able to face off against each other.
Pittsburg and Serra high schools, ranked Nos. 2 and 3 in the Bay Area News Group Top 25, have squared off the past four seasons but were unable to this year because Serra is in San Mateo County while Pittsburg is in Contra Costa.
CDPH also made official changes from last week that will allow for fans in the stands at outdoor high school sporting events under its new rules for outdoor seated live performances. Attendance at indoor games, however, is still limited to immediate household members. “This prohibition shall remain in effect until such time as Indoor Seated Live Events and Performance Guidance is posted and becomes effective,” a CDPH spokesperson said.