Things to know for high school athletes and parents

As the CIF Southern Section offices transition to the next phase of the current situation we are in, it is a good time to review some talking points related to various bylaws that are in place. It is not a complete list, as there will continue to be questions raised in the time ahead, but it is hopefully a guide to help everyone begin to navigate through what we are facing in the near future.

Academic Eligibility – CIF Bylaw 205B – Continuing Scholastic Eligibility – Certifying students for academic eligibility has always been the responsibility of schools and school districts, per the requirements contained in CIF Bylaw 205B. Some schools are moving to pass/fail grades for the rest of the school year, and if so, it will be up to schools and school districts as to how they evaluate a pass grade, whether it equates to a C, a D, etc., and how they apply that pass grade related to the CIF bylaw requiring a minimum 2.0 GPA in all courses attempted during the school’s regular grading period. The same situation is involved with credits, in terms of how many credits are the pass/fail grade classes going to be worth and applying those pass credits to the standard of students passing a minimum of 20 credits during the school’s most recent regular grading period.

Commissioner Rob Wigod. Valley News/Courtesy photo

“I encourage all students to continue to participate in the distance learning programs being offered by their schools to ensure that they keep progressing academically and do not let their eligibility be affected once we return to competition,” Rob Wigod, commissioner of CIF Southern Section, said.

Rule 600 – Now that spring sports championships are canceled, CIF Bylaw 600 no longer applies. Students can play for outside teams whenever it is deemed safe for them to do so.

SOP (Sit-out Period) – Now that spring sports championships are canceled, every spring sport student who was under CIF Bylaw 207 – Transfer Eligibility, Sit-out Period, would now be a non-participation transfer if they choose to go to another school for the 2020-2021 school year. They would not get credit for having participated in a sport during the spring 2020 season because sports were canceled before the SOP date happened. Non-participation transfers would not apply to students who participated in fall or winter sports during the 2019-2020 school year.

Sports Participation – Students who played in any interscholastic competition this season, before the season was canceled, are still credited with participation in that sport for the spring 2020 season. While the season was not complete, completion has never been the standard followed for sports participation. If students played in an interscholastic contest during the spring 2020 season, they have participated during that season. As mentioned above, this would not apply to SOP students who were waiting to play at the varsity level because they would not have participated this season, but all other students who have played in a game during the spring 2020 season, including SOP students who participated at the non-varsity level, would be credited with participating this season.

Hardship Waiver Applications – CIF Bylaw 204 – Additional Semesters of Eligibility – Hardship waiver applications for additional semesters of eligibility can only be considered if two criteria are met.

First, students must be out of school for 10 weeks or longer, due to an unforeseeable, unavoidable and uncorrectable act, condition or event, non-athletic in nature.

Students, while not being on campus, still have access to educational services though distance learning. Therefore, unless they could no longer be educated during the time, they are away from the high school campus, due to a hardship condition that exists, this situation does not open a new window into hardship waiver.

Second, students cannot have participated in four seasons of a particular sport.

As mentioned above, the spring 2020 season had begun. Seniors who were participating in their fourth season of sport in spring 2020 would not be eligible to receive an additional semester of eligibility in that same sport.

Seniors need to focus on completing graduation requirements in the remaining weeks of the school year. It is not a time when students should stop their participation in distance learning education, in the hope that a current senior can return to high school for the 2020-2021 school year.

Summer Dead Period – This situation does not have an effect on the summer dead period rule. The summer dead period rule was put in place by CIF Southern Section Council action.

“I do not have the authority to set that rule aside, even in unprecedented circumstances like these,” Wigod said. “Also, while schools are closed and students are home, they do not have the ability to spend normal family time together. If anything, once the opportunity to go outside is allowed again, I would think that there are many things families would like to do that they have not been able to do and if their entire summer is devoted to their high school athletic programs, they would not be able to do so.”

The Southern Section offices of the CIF will remain closed due to ‘stay-at-home’ order. Valley News/Courtesy photo

An argument could be made that the summer dead period is needed this summer more than any other summer. Additionally, schools cannot choose their summer dead period during school days, so while students are not on campus, they are still receiving educational services and there will still be a last day of school. Therefore, anyone asking about using summer dead period dates when students are currently not on campus at this time, but still within the school year, would not be allowed. Finally, schools can choose to revise their summer dead period dates, if they have already submitted them, and if they submit their revision before the actual dates of their summer dead period beginning, they are permitted to do so.

All employees will remain working remotely during this time and will be reachable via their individual email accounts, which can be found, along with other sports information, at www.cifss.org.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at sports@reedermedia.com.