By Ray Hamill — As we gear up for a possible return to competitive high school sports in the coming weeks there is still plenty of uncertainty.
And not just in terms of when we may actually see a resumption, but also in regard to what sports may get the go-ahead soon and what sports may not.
State health officials and the California Interscholastic Federation have set a return date of Jan. 25, but that date could yet be pushed back and even then only certain sports would be allowed to compete under the current tier restrictions.
So what does this mean for the H-DNL?
Well, the CIF is still planning on a two-season calendar, with cross country, girls volleyball and football all scheduled for the first season (January to April) and soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, tennis, wrestling, swimming and golf all scheduled for the second season (March to June).
It’s unlikely, however, some of those season-one sports will be cleared to play in time.
A few months back the H-DNL approved a three-season calendar instead, so as the many local multiple-sport athletes would not have to sacrifice one sport for another in what would have been a very busy spring for them here under the CIF calendar.
Now, of course, the H-DNL calendar will obviously have to be re-addressed, and there is little doubt at this stage that there will be a lot of sports competing at the same time this spring if they want to compete at all and providing they are cleared to play at some point.
Because of that, coaches in different sports will have to work with each other in order to accommodate the student athletes who want to play all of their sports — or as many as possible — and the league will have to be creative in its scheduling.
In addition to an all-local schedule in most sports — at least through the regular season — student athletes can also expect shortened campaigns in each.
Another important aspect to consider before coming up with a potential calendar are the tiers and where we can expect to be as the weeks pass.
If competition does return on Jan. 25, only low-contact outdoor sports such as golf, tennis, cross country, swimming and track and field would be allowed to compete under the purple or most restricted tier.
(Baseball and softball can compete in the Red Tier; Football, soccer and volleyball can compete in the Orange Tier; Basketball, cheerleading and wrestling can compete in the Yellow Tier.)
As of right now, Humboldt County is in the red tier with Del Norte County still in purple, so is it realistic to expect sports like football or soccer to be given the go-ahead by the late-January return date?
And if not, when?
Or what about basketball, a high-contact indoor sport that won’t get the go-ahead until we reach the yellow or least restricted tier?
The league, of course, will have to take all of this into consideration at multiple meetings planned for January.
The H-DNL athletic directors are scheduled to meet on Friday.