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.

Cases: 1200624

Reported Deaths: 19116
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3908917623
San Bernardino921641129
Riverside857691437
San Diego80018997
Orange767611577
Kern40632448
Fresno37994481
Sacramento36579566
Santa Clara33732476
Alameda29116511
San Joaquin25741502
Contra Costa23571261
Stanislaus21585424
Tulare20634308
Ventura19379175
Imperial15960356
San Francisco15377160
Monterey14753116
San Mateo14148170
Sonoma12049157
Merced11550179
Santa Barbara11340135
Kings1068787
Solano1004481
Marin7704129
Placer635468
San Luis Obispo612936
Madera605085
Yolo473775
Shasta471847
Santa Cruz435828
Butte389459
Sutter314415
Napa298817
El Dorado23154
Yuba198110
San Benito186516
Lassen17733
Tehama164925
Mendocino148522
Nevada11849
Tuolumne9818
Lake90919
Glenn8918
Humboldt8509
Colusa6946
Siskiyou6242
Amador55416
Mono5453
Calaveras47822
Del Norte3131
Inyo29016
Plumas2050
Trinity1580
Modoc1310
Mariposa1302
Alpine500
Sierra190
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