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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.

Cases: 3015644

Reported Deaths: 33724
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles102419013936
San Bernardino2540941560
Riverside2422062517
Orange2123892367
San Diego2117872103
Santa Clara935571076
Kern85362565
Fresno82039932
Sacramento801541080
Alameda67375764
Ventura61257412
San Joaquin57094748
Contra Costa52146449
Stanislaus42548749
Tulare41016501
Monterey35418250
San Mateo32186294
San Francisco29139262
Imperial25253463
Solano25216105
Santa Barbara24481231
Sonoma23871240
Merced23800296
Kings19254133
Placer17194173
San Luis Obispo15658128
Madera13328130
Santa Cruz12196113
Marin11569154
Yolo10519131
Shasta9594117
Butte9411121
El Dorado765944
Sutter760477
Napa752139
Lassen509413
San Benito494143
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada317673
Mendocino311432
Amador300129
Lake257228
Humboldt232224
Glenn192419
Colusa16919
Calaveras160823
Siskiyou140813
Mono10914
Inyo92429
Del Norte8572
Plumas5735
Modoc3793
Mariposa3464
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
Unassigned00
Chico
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Another very windy day for northern California as an area of low pressure continues its southward trek over our state. Thankfully we'll have much quieter weather on Wednesday, with more rain and snow chances coming.
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