Central Coast Section playoffs, once thought to be an extremely unlikely possibility, are now expected to take place for most Season Two sports.
This change came about as the result of a California Department of Public Health directive issued earlier this month that allowed high school sports teams to play teams from anywhere in the state, rather than only within their own or adjacent counties.
Now section playoffs can theoretically take place at a central location.
“I think team sports will all happen,’’ CCS commissioner Dave Grissom said in a phone interview this week.
Grissom made a presentation to the CCS board of managers on Wednesday and will need to do so again at an executive committee meeting April 26. He doesn’t expect opposition.
“I think everyone feels, if we can pull this off let’s do it,’’ Grissom said.
Individual sports face bigger obstacles than team sports. Wrestling and badminton are unlikely to happen at all.
“The guidance prevents playing multiple opponents on the same day, which is what happens with wrestling and badminton,’’ Grissom said, “If you win one match you go on and face someone from another school in the next round. That being said I could make the argument that two wrestlers on a mat might not pose as much of a risk as 11 on 11 football.’’
Section championships for other individual sports, such as track and swimming, have the chance to take place, but face complicating factors.
“We would blanket the premises in swimming with 100 schools if given approval,’’ Gtrissom said.
There will be no playoffs for Season One sports -- football, girls volleyball, water polo, field hockey, cross country and competitive cheer.
Not all schools are expected to take part. Even with a qualifying team or individual, a school might decide enough is enough and vote not to take part in playoffs, which are scheduled after the school year concludes.
This is a particular issue in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League, which departed from the section’s two-season model to create its own three-season schedule. The league set up that three-sport structure in an effort to be fair to all sports and to give all athletes an equal amount of time to compete. The decision was made when all of the Bay Area was deep in the purple tier and the prospects for section and state playoffs appeared dim.
“Our board of managers tabled a decision on taking part in the playoffs until our meeting on April 29, after the CCS executive committee meets,’’ SCVAL commissioner Brad Metheany said. “If the board of managers decides to take part in the playoffs, individual schools can make their own decisions.’’
The league also faces possible issues with Title IX after moving girls tennis and girls golf into Season One.
The league’s decision to prioritize regular-season, rather than postseason play, has drawn opposition from some teams in the league.
“This team we have this year really deserves to go to CCS after missing out last year due to COVID,’’ Palo Alto baseball coach Pete Fukuhara said. “I want to coach as many games with this team as I can.’’
Administrators face the overwhelming task of finding a way to allow sports, which normally take place throughout the school calendar, into a couple of months now that the restrictions due to COVID have been eased.
“No one sport is more important than any other,’’ Metheany said. “Last year is last year. We’re trying to get through this year. One school in our league has 41 events scheduled for the week of April 19. And the testing stuff is unbelievably time consuming. This is a Goliath undertaking.’’