Jurupa Hills High School football players tackle an opponent during a game in the fall of 2019.  The upcoming football season has been postponed until January of 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.  (Contributed photo by Jerry Soifer)

This will be a fall without football.

That's what the CIF Southern Section has decreed, postponing the start of high school football competition until January of 2021 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a press release sent on July 20, the CIF announced its plans for all athletic events, saying that the decision was made to condense three seasons of sport into two seasons of sport, primarily to help with the spacing between particular sports and the overlap of certain sports between seasons.

The CIF is hoping that the COVID-19 threat will recede and that all schools will be able to safely reopen by the end of 2020. All school sites in San Bernardino County are now closed and distance learning is being implemented.

The first practice date for 11-man football is scheduled to be Monday, Dec. 14, with the first week of competition taking place on Jan. 8.

The regular season will continue through March 12, with Southern Section playoffs set for March 19, March 26, April 2, and April 9-10 and state championships planned April 16-17.

----- OTHER SPORTS will start in December and will include boys' and girls' cross country, field hockey, traditional competitive cheer, boys' volleyball, girls' volleyball, boys' water polo, and girls' water polo.

Sports that will begin in February or March will include baseball, boys' and girls' basketball, competitive sport cheer, boys' and girls' soccer, softball, boys' and girls' swimming and diving, boys' team tennis, girls' team tennis, and boys' and girls' track and field.

Regular seasons already had a wide range in terms of the length of their seasons in previous years, including 83 days for soccer, 81 days for basketball, 64 days for football, and 57 days for girls' volleyball, the CIF said.

"We believe that to help with the overlap of seasons, affecting student-athletes, coaches and facilities, we would standardize the length of the regular seasons to approximately 72 days, for those who previously had more days than that, while leaving the others with less than 72 days alone. In doing so, we would help with the issues mentioned, but keep in mind that we are not

imposing any reduction on the maximum number of allowable contests, per CIF Bylaw 1206, in any sport," CIF Commissioner Rob Wigod said.

The total number of days in some sports will be reduced between 5 and 12 percent, but schools can still play the same number of maximum allowable contests, if they choose, in that smaller window.

The 2020-2021 sports calendar includes full section championship experiences, which means the same number of champions in each sport, the same number of divisions in each sport and the same number of guaranteed entries from leagues advancing to the playoffs in each sport, as in previous years.

"I have stated previously that if we are to deliver fall, winter and spring sports this upcoming school year it will require vision, creativity, flexibility, teamwork and unwavering commitment from all involved to answer this call to leadership," Wigod said. "Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures and there is no doubt that is where we are right now."

----- THE TENTATIVE sports schedules include:

• Cross country -- first contest Saturday, Dec. 26; last allowable contest March 5

• Eight-man football -- first contest Friday, Jan. 8; week 9 contest March 5

• Boys' volleyball -- first contest Saturday, Dec. 12; last allowable contest Feb. 13

• Girls' volleyball -- first contest Saturday, Dec. 19; last allowable contest Feb. 20

• Boys' water polo -- first contest Monday, Dec. 21; last allowable contest Feb. 20

• Girls' water polo -- first contest Monday, Dec. 28; last allowable contest Feb. 27

• Baseball -- first contest Friday, March 19; last allowable contest May 29

• Boys' and girls' basketball -- first contest Friday, March 12; last allowable contest May 22

• Boys' and girls' soccer -- first contest Saturday, Feb. 27; last allowable contest May 8

• Softball -- first contest Friday, March 19; last allowable contest May 29

• Boys' and girls' swimming -- first contest Saturday, March 13; last allowable contest May 22

• Boys' tennis -- first contest Monday, March 1; last allowable contest May 15

• Girls' tennis -- first contest Monday, Feb. 22; last allowable contest May 8

• Boys' and girls' track -- first contest Saturday, March 20; last allowable contest May 29.

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