The banned cohorting between club and high school sports was re-evaluated Wednesday morning, allowing a majority of players to compete on both.
Despite announcing in January that they would not allow players to compete on high school and club teams at the same time, the CIF announced on Wednesday that those guidelines would be revised, allowing the cohorting of individual teams to continue heading into the 2021 season. The only exception to this rule, according to a CIF media release, is football.
Bylaws 600-605 are the normal regulations set in place by the CIF which bans players from competing for two different squads simultaneously. Those bylaws were waived in mid-July last season with high school sports being on hold. Yet, with high school athletics currently on the brink of a return, the CIF reintroduced those bylaws under state guidelines last month.
According to their press release, the CIF met with the California Department of Public Health once more to clear some of the language shared between the two sides. The CIF confirmed that the CDPH’s stance on cohorting and multi-team participation was a “recommendation” rather than a “mandate,” allowing the CIF to reinstate their waiver against the bylaws.
The only athletes that will continue to be restricted are those who compete in football. In agreement with the California Education Code 35179.5 — which provides regulation on the construction of practices and everyday football activities — along with the counsel from CIF’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, football players will still not be allowed to play for high school and club at the same time.
However, similar to the way they handled the announcement in January, the CIF made it abundantly clear in their release that if a football player had competed for a club team prior to their high school season starting, they were not in violation of Bylaws 600-605. However, with the CDPH’s vigorous “tier” recommendations still in play, it does not seem that high school football, particularly in Los Angeles County, will begin to see consistent competition anytime soon.
With the previous cohorting rule heavily affecting small schools, especially those with athletic programs that were reliant on students playing on multiple rosters, the decision will certainly be seen as a positive throughout the high school athletic community. CIF’s revised decision is proof that they understand the severe damage a lack of athletics has had on their players, and that they want to give high schoolers every chance possible to succeed.