May 24, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

A look at CIF’s proposed seasons for high school sports, tiers and challenges ahead

A look at Irvine Stadium at Irvine High, home for football, soccer, lacrosse and track and field meets. (File photo: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

CIF Southern Section officials provided another look Tuesday at the two proposed seasons that the CIF state office has proposed along with a look at the tiers that counties would have to be in for the sports to happen.

There have been no changes since the original guidelines were announced last week, according to Thom Simmons, assistant CIF Southern Section Commissioner. Another update will be sent next week, he added.

High school competition in the state will not be allowed until Jan. 25, 2021, at the earliest, according to officials with the California Department of Public Health. And surging coronavirus cases appear to make the return of high school sports a more difficult task.

Most counties in the state, including Orange County, remain in the most restrictive purple widespread tier in regards to coronavirus cases.

However, sports that would be allowed in the purple tier are cross country, golf, skiing/snowboarding, swimming and diving and tennis, subject to approval by state, county and local authorities.

Sports such as football, volleyball and water polo could only be played if counties reach the moderate tier, which is two tiers below purple.

The tier system was developed by the California Department of Public Health, CIF officials had asked the state that all sports be placed in the red tier, but that request was not approved.


Season 1 sports (January – April): Traditional competitive cheer, cross country, field hockey, football, gymnastics, skiing/snowboarding, girls volleyball and water polo.

Season 2 sports (March – June): Badminton, baseball, basketball, competitive sport, cheer, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and
diving, tennis, track and field, boys volleyball and wrestling.


Purple (Widespread): Sports allowed cross country, golf, skiing/
snowboarding, swimming and diving, tennis, and
track and field.

Red (Substantial): Sports allowed baseball, field hockey,
girls lacrosse and softball.

Moderate (Orange): Sports allowed badminton, football,
gymnastics, boys lacrosse, soccer, volleyball and
water polo.

Minimal (Yellow): Sports allowed basketball,
competitive cheerleading and wrestling.

The California Department of Public Health has also developed extensive guidelines on return to play. More information is available by going to: CDPH Youth Sports Guidelines. In addition, the CIF Southern Section has posted the CIF tier map on its website.


CIF Southern Section officials announced a plan to move boys volleyball to the second season, following similar action by the state office. However, counties would need to be in the moderate tier for it to be played. Most of the 2020 boys volleyball season was cancelled after the coronavirus pandemic broke out last March and CIF officials wanted to give seniors a better chance of being able to play this year.


Wigod said in the interview last week with schools and CIF offices closed for the holidays, he does not expect much to change in regards to dates for the possible starts of seasons.

However, the California Department of Public Health will meet again on Jan. 4, 2021 to-reassess the plan it announced last week which could allow some sports to begin on Jan. 25.

In addition, Wigod is also planning an update for the CIF Southern Section on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

“What we have committed to is on Jan. 19 we will announce the status of Southern Section championships for fall sports and those right now are scheduled for certain weeks and time frames in our seasons,” Wigod said.

Teams may continue with conditioning drills, but no games are allowed.

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone;