H-DNL forced to push back start of sports calendar

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By Ray Hamill — The H-DNL announced on Wednesday that it does not anticipate beginning the sports calendar until sometime in the new year at the earliest.

The local high school league was tentatively scheduled to return to competition on Dec. 7, but the news this week that state health officials have postponed issuing any updates on youth sports guidelines has forced the H-DNL’s hand.

In a press release announcing the news, the league said it “does not anticipate initiating their scheduled Dec. 7 start date for competitive athletics during the 2020-2021 school year.”

The statement went on to say, “Given the current statewide increase in Coronavirus cases, it is believed the earliest CDPH may revisit the guidelines for youth sports would be mid January.”

Basketball and cross country were the first two sports scheduled to start locally, but both have now been put on hold.

Earlier this year, the H-DNL approved an alternative sports calendar to the rest of the state, opting for three shortened sports seasons running for approximately two months each.

Wednesday’s press release, however, suggests the H-DNL will have to re-address the sports calendar once again.

“It is also anticipated the HDNL may need to develop new sports schedules that could deviate from both our traditional sports seasons and the tentative league schedules aligned with the Dec. 7 start date,” the league said. “Future decisions made by the North Coast Section and CIF regarding high school athletic schedules will dictate the framework for any new HDNL schedules.”

While the majority of states around the country have competed in high school sports this fall, currently in California youth sports are restricted to socially-distanced practice sessions with no competition allowed.

The H-DNL must get the go-ahead from both state and local health officials before resuming competition.

H-DNL sports have been on hold since March.

The press release added that the league “hopes to receive additional information during the NCS Sports Advisory Meeting scheduled for Monday, Dec. 7.”

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