Skip to main content

California high school football season will start in December or January

Jesse Reed
High school football California
General scene during the 3rd annual Special Angels Super Bowl hosted by Special Angels Recreation at the Lyndhurst High School football field in Lyndhurst on 10/14/19 Special Angels Super Bowl © Mitsu Yasukawa/ Northjersey.com, North Jersey Record via Imagn Content Services, LLC

There will not be high school in the state of California this fall. Instead, the state will begin its high school football season in December or January.

This breaking news comes from Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, who spoke to a coach in the CIF Southern Section.

Shortly after Dodd reported the news, the CIF confirmed it with a statement:

“The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has determined, in collaboration with our 10 Sections, that education-based athletics for the 2020-2021 school year will begin with a modified season of sport schedule (see below for 2020-21 sports calendar). Our calendar reflects the season for each CIF sport and the last date for Section Championships and Regional/State Championships in those sports where a Regional/State Championship is currently offered. Following this announcement, each CIF Section Office will release their own calendar to reflect regular season starting and ending dates and Section playoffs. It is anticipated that most Section start dates will commence in December 2020 or January 2021.

“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. As these guidelines change, CIF Sections may allow for athletic activity to potentially resume under the summer period rules of the local Section. Also, given this calendar change, the CIF has temporarily suspended Bylaws 600-605 (Outside Competition) in all sports for the 2020-21 school year (see below for more specific information related to these changes).”

Texas A&M recruit Victory Vaka will skip senior season

As noted by Dodd, this decision will have major implications on college football recruiting next year. It may also have a huge impact on high school players who could skip their senior seasons.

Texas A&M recruit Victory Vaka has already announced he will do so.

Most California schools will be distanced learning this fall

Likely, this decision is being made because many high schools in California will not have students in attendance this fall.

As noted by Ricardo Cano of Cal Matters, nearly all California schools have been ordered to shut down with mandatory online classes being implemented once more.

“Thirty-three out of California’s 58 counties — which encompasses about 90% of the state’s school children — are on the state’s watch list and do not comply with the infection benchmarks, so their schools will have to stay physically closed.”

Much like we’ve seen at the college football level, schools that aren’t open to students cannot therefore be open for sports, either.

California COVID-19 numbers have spiked

California Governor Gavin Newsom made the announcement on schools staying shut down this fall because the state is experiencing a dramatic spike in positive COVID-19 cases.

As reported by Alix Martichoux of ABC 7 News, “California reported 9,986 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours. As of Friday, COVID-19 patients occupy about 16% of the state’s ICU capacity.”

The state has had to significantly roll back its reopening plan in recent days as well.