By Ray Hamill — It wasn’t the news many frustrated high school athletes were hoping for on Tuesday, but some youth sports have been given the all-clear to return by state officials.
Speaking at his weekly press conference, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said youth sports can return as allowed under the various tiers in the state, but stopped short of approving an immediate full return.
With Humboldt and Del Norte counties currently under the purple or most restricted tier — as is most of the state — that means only low-contact outdoor sports will be immediately allowed, as long as they are cleared by local health officials as well.
As of early Tuesday afternoon, the H-DNL is still waiting on local heath officials to approve the return.
Providing the league receives that clearance by the end of the week — along with the expected approval by the North Coast Section — it means cross country, girls golf and boys tennis will be allowed to begin competition next Monday as scheduled.
Those three sports will each feature a five-week season, and will be followed by track and field, boys golf and girls tennis, all of which are also permitted under the purple tier.
The H-DNL will re-address the schedules for other sports as the local counties move through the various tiers.
Baseball and softball will be allowed when we reach the red tier, followed by football, soccer and volleyball in the orange tier and basketball and wrestling in the yellow or least restricted tier.
Last week, Dr. Ghaly refused to commit to the tier-based return, leaving speculation that even that would be postponed.
On the other hand, many people around the state were hoping he would allow an immediate return for all sports on Tuesday, in light of the mounting pressure from the “Let Them Play, CA” movement.
A second round of statewide “Let Them Play” rallies will be held on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., including one in Eureka.