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Competitive sports may be barred for the time being, but Chris Neier, athletic director at Malibu High School, still sees excitement ahead.
“It’s going to be a wild next few moths,” he told me after digesting the new state rules governing outdoor and indoor youth sports released on Monday.
In a nutshell, athletic competition is banned until at least Jan. 25, 2021, and the state has implemented COVID-19 guidelines for each and every sport.
“Everything that needs to happen for a baseball game to happen, everything that needs to happen for a football game to happen, the state has modifications for every sport,” Neier said.
“We have been doing the county-allowed conditioning training outdoors. The kids are doing a great job keeping 6 feet apart, exercising. But I know they want to play games,” he added.
Banning competition until at least late next month is a hammer that even Ron Wigod, commissioner of athletics for the CIF Southern Section, wasn’t expecting because the organization took part in negotiating the new rules.
“It is important to note that what was recommended by our CIF Sports Medicine Advisory Committee is not what we see here,” Wigod said Wednesday. “We requested that all sports be conducted in the Red Tier and were hopeful that we would be allowed to proceed accordingly. While that is not the case today, I want to assure you that the dialogue will continue between the CIF and the California Department of Public Health to try and advocate for the return of education-based athletics as soon as that can happen in a healthy and safe way.”
The pandemic is really the guiding force here. If case transmission goes up and ICU capacity falls — or even stays at the low rate it is as of this writing — any hope of competitive play in Los Angeles County is out the window.
An assessment in that regard will take place Jan. 4.
Neier and the other leaders of the Citrus Coast League will meet the next day to see where things go based on what new move the state takes.
“We’re all sitting and waiting. We’ll see what happens,” said Neier. “I feel for our seniors, who are waiting around for this.
The group will toss around as many scenarios as they can to try to find a solution for the players.
“Some sports might look a lot different because of this,” he said. “There might be a lot more kids trying something different.”
Summing up, Neier said, “We’ll give them whatever the county gives us. We’ll adjust schedules and do the best we can safely for the kids.”
Scott Steepleton is editor of the Malibu Surfside News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.