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Spring football begins for some high schools bringing controversy

The governing body of California high school athletics allowed districts to decide when athletics can resume. While some were given the green to return now, rival schools in different counties, are growing frustrated still on the sidelines.

Posted: May 28, 2020 8:15 AM
Updated: May 28, 2020 8:54 AM

CHICO, Calif. - The coronavirus put high school sports on the sidelines and unsure when its return will come.

Some high schools found a way back just in time for spring football, while others are still unable to return.

The California Interscholastic Federation has allowed individual school districts to make the call on resuming athletics throughout its schools.
High schools like Gridley and Wheatland started spring football with more on the way. East Nicolaus announced its spring program will begin June 8.

Yet opponents in their same division who haven't been given the green light, like West Valley High School, are growing in frustration.

Longtime Eagles Head Coach Greg Grandell says, "I do not want someone to come in and stop Gridley, Wheatland, and Sutter from lifting weights. I just want to join them."

Grandell joins a list of other coaches worried about their players and the physical preparation they're missing out on by staying at home.

"We need to, you know, get our guys prepared physically for a contact sport," said Grandell.

CIF Northern Section Commissioner Elizabeth Kyle says, "Our state constitution requires every athlete to participate in ten days of practice prior to participating in a game, but that is for health and safety reasons."

For a sport like football, Grandell urges decision-makers to re-think the necessary timeline to get player reacclimated since most schools can't start at the same time.

"It is pure stupidity if we think with no time lifting weights that we're going to start a season in August and not have a ton of injuries if we don't let these kids get ready. We've had a plan for a month ready to go when they'll let us go and it's really frustrating," said Grandell.

But not even the commissioner can make it happen on her own.

Kyle says, "in the end, it's the principals and superintendent of that school district that decides when students are returning to school, and when students are returning to sports."

Despite the head start, other schools are receiving, Grandell's program remains on the sidelines.

"We're hoping to get going here. I'd love to get started here, but I've been kind of asked by my administration to settle down and wait and that's really hard for me to do."

Grandell noted three things over to Action News Now over the phone.

Lower coronavirus cases throughout the region, low death rate in teens, and the re-opening of close contact businesses in the Redding area.

All are reasons why he believes hi Eagles, and schools under similar circumstances should get to take action.

Kyle says sports like tennis and golf may have a chance to fully return on an earlier timeline.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 516851

Reported Deaths: 9441
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1938774702
Orange37813651
Riverside37011695
San Bernardino33432418
San Diego29883565
Kern20651144
Fresno15083138
San Joaquin11885180
Alameda11524189
Santa Clara10794191
Sacramento10122145
Tulare9745189
Imperial9448222
Stanislaus9221112
Contra Costa8033127
Ventura734476
San Francisco691661
Santa Barbara616760
San Mateo5683119
Marin509270
Monterey492430
Kings445356
Merced428550
Solano361137
Sonoma311339
Madera194330
Placer192516
San Luis Obispo190216
Yolo157242
Santa Cruz11524
Butte9417
Napa8888
Sutter7976
San Benito6474
El Dorado6371
Lassen6260
Yuba5024
Shasta3909
Glenn3321
Colusa3314
Mendocino3229
Nevada2991
Tehama2341
Humboldt2334
Lake2081
Mono1451
Tuolumne1412
Amador1260
Calaveras1251
Del Norte880
Siskiyou730
Inyo611
Mariposa572
Plumas330
Trinity50
Alpine20
Modoc20
Sierra20
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It was a slightly cooler day for northern California today, but a more significant cooling is arriving tomorrow, along with a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms over the mountains of northwest California.
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