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By Zach Cavanagh

There was a buzz ahead of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus update on Monday, Nov. 16, that the state would finally provide an update to its guidelines on youth and high school sports, as the CIF sports schedule was set to begin next month.

However, despite Newsom saying he’s reviewed the update and signed off on the guidelines, the state’s pulling of the “emergency brake” on its coronavirus monitoring system on Monday due to rising case rates and hospitalizations has delayed the release of those guidelines.

Dr. Clayton Chau, the director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, said on Tuesday, Nov. 17, that the delay figures to be a short one and that he expects the state to release the modified youth sports guidance sometime this week. Chau noted that the state was ready to deliver the guidance, but the rise in cases and movement back to the purple “widespread” risk tier delayed any announcement.

As of press time on Wednesday, Nov. 18, the guidance had not been announced.

Most of the state does not seem any closer to restarting their sports calendars, with 41 counties in the state’s most restrictive purple tier, including Orange County, which fell back from the second-highest red “substantial” risk tier. Almost every county in the CIF-Southern Section is in the purple tier, with the lesser-populated Inyo (orange) and Mono (red) counties as the only non-purple counties.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, California is one of only eight states in the country not currently playing high school sports.

CIF’s July-announced schedule had the sports year officially restarting with boys volleyball playing games on Dec. 12, football practice opening on Dec. 14 and other sports following suit through the end of the year.

In response to Newsom’s Monday announcement, the CIF State office said that as long as the current guidance remains in effect, CIF competitions will not be allowed.

On Monday, South Coast Pop Warner Football announced the official cancellation of their 2020 tackle football and cheer seasons.

Zach Cavanagh

Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a multiple California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at

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