By Ray Hamill — At least one local coach, who will be affected more than most by the CIF’s recent decision to load the spring prep sports schedule, is on board with the idea despite the difficulties.
The H-DNL will decide in the coming weeks whether to stay with the CIF model, which the rest of the North Coast Section seems to be in line with, or to find an alternative calendar, one that fits the local schools better.
That could mean a switch to a three-season model — with shortened seasons — which would allow multiple-sport athletes to play all their chosen sports instead of having to choose one over another in a packed spring.
Under the CIF schedule, many local athletes would have to choose between basketball and baseball or softball, with those sports all scheduled to play at the same time.
According to Arcata boys basketball coach Dusty Scofield, however, switching to a three-season format would not be a good idea for several reasons.
“I feel it’s not the safest model,” Scofield said. “The CIF/NCS model has moved many sports back to late spring, giving more student athletes an opportunity for a season. It moves us further away from flu season and gives us more time to learn more about (COVID-19) and maybe find medicine that might help.
“Moving the sports teams’ timeline ahead might put more teams in jeopardy of losing a season of sport.”
Scofield, like many coaches, will feel the effects if his team is playing at the same time as baseball.
However, like many coaches he still feels the CIF made the best decision possible in a very tough situation.
“I feel for all the kids who have to choose between a sport and all they are missing out on,” he said. “But I think starting as many sports teams as late as we can gives us the best chance to have a season of sport.”
There are other concerns with the three-season model.
Not only would it take all H-DNL teams out of NCS and state playoff contention, but the seasons would be limited to eight or nine weeks, which could be a huge concern for outdoor sports if we have a wet spring on the North Coast.
It would also be problematic in regard to scheduling for local teams, if teams from outside the area all stick with the two-season model.
“By going to the three-sports season model it will result in all teams losing the opportunity for the playoffs,” Scofield said. “That would mean two years in a row spring sports would miss the playoffs.”
Scofield would rather try to work with his fellow coaches than have to sacrifice a possible playoff appearance, which is a huge part of the season for many programs in the area.
“I understand schools and coaches are worried about fielding teams and missing some of their players,” the Arcata coach said. “However, I would rather try to figure out a way to work with fielding teams and missing players than the alternative.”
The league ADs will meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue and possibly recommend an alternative calendar for the league to vote on the following week.