State CIF clears way for multisport participation for athletes, coaches

Joe Heinz is commissioner of the CIF's San Diego Section, shown here on May 19, 2020.
(K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Rule had been modified but it’s back to normal after statement from CDPH


The State CIF has reversed its field and updated the rule that governs multisport participation, clearing the way for athletes and coaches to engage in more than one sport in the same season.

That type of participation has been the rule, but in December, after a guideline from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Rule 600-605 was modified to allow for competition in only one sport per season — high school or club. That rule applied to coaches and athletes.

In a statement Wednesday, however, the State CIF said the Cohorting Section (multisport participation) of the CDPH guideline was a recommendation, not a mandate.

So the State CIF said athletes in all sports other than football may again participate in multiple sports in the same season.

“This puts us back to where we were, back to where we planned,” said CIF San Diego Section Commissioner Joe Heinz. “It’s good for everyone, especially the multisport kids. And it will be a great benefit to the smaller schools.

“With this school year being compacted from three seasons of sport to just two, this gives the Season 2 athletes more opportunities to participate.”

Some Season 1 sports are already practicing with cross country slated for competition as early as Thursday, followed by swimming, tennis and golf.

Season 2 will have a bulk of the CIF’s sports, including track, baseball, softball, water polo, lacrosse and soccer.

Most indoor sports in Season 1 and Season 2 are on hold, as is football.

“This is a big decision for our multisport athletes and coaches,” Heinz said. “It allows some flexibility, especially in this most-crazy time.”

In addition, the State CIF confirmed no player may participate in high school and club football at the same time. Simultaneous participation in other sports is up to schools to decide.

However, no player is in violation of a CIF Bylaw if he plays on a club team before his high school team is cleared for participation.

“That’s a good compromise, and the right thing for football,” Heinz said.

— John Maffei is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune