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When the 10 section commissioners of the California Interscholastic Federation met on March 17, just three days after the CIF state basketball championships were supposed to have been held at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, executive director Ron Nocetti said that “today is not the day” to determine what would happen with the remaining weeks of the spring sports season and whether or not to cancel CIF spring sports events, including the state track meet in Clovis.
That day, however, arrived on Friday. With the Coronavirus crisis still not peaking at any place in California and with cases and deaths expected to rise for perhaps the next month or more, the CIF matched recommendations by Governor Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent of Schools Tony Thurmond to cancel all events for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. The section commissioners also came together to state that none of their various spring sports playoffs and championship events would be held, either.
“Based on the recent statements issued by Governor Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, regarding schools turning to distance learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) does not see an avenue for the spring sports season to continue,” said the CIF’s statement signed on Friday by Nocetti. “As such, in consultation today with the 10 Section Commissioners, the decision has been made to cancel spring Section, Regional, and State Championship events.”
As mentioned when the basketball championships were cancelled, the last cancellations of any CIF state championship events occurred for the CIF state track meet during World War II. There also were CIF baseball championships scheduled for 1919 that were cancelled due to an influenza outbreak that swept around the world that year. The 1919 CIF state track meet was held.
Even during World War II, there were schools that were open and continued to participate against each other in limited competitions. Some schools, for example, only played their closest neighboring schools in football. Cal-Hi Sports founder Nelson Tennis even picked State Teams of the Year for baseball during World War II since the leagues in places like San Francisco (which was still producing an extremely high number of pro players) and San Diego were determining championships. But with schools completely closed this spring and no teams even allowed to gather for any practices due to social distancing guidelines, none of that is possible in the coming weeks.
“We understand this is disappointing for everyone involved in education-based athletics and empathize with our student-athletes and all who are impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak,” the CIF statement on Friday continued. “As always, our top priority is everyone’s ongoing health and safety during this challenging time, and we all look forward to the day when education-based athletics resumes.”
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*Final, expanded state rankings can be compiled and will be compiled for both sports (coming next week). There will not be a State Team of the Year named, however, or divisional state rankings. Teams just haven’t played enough games for a legitimate State Team of the Year evaluation and without section playoffs it would be impossible to determine which divisions to place teams for divisional state rankings.
*There will be no Mr. Baseball or Ms. Softball State Players of the Year or other state player, coaching honors. How would any such selection be fair without even half of the season played? We’d say that Max Rajcic of Orange Lutheran would be the leading candidate for Mr. Baseball at the time of the season being halted, but he didn’t play a third of his season and who’s to say what would have happened in the rest of the Trinity League or the CIF Southern Section playoffs? And what about softball? Nicole May of Pleasanton Foothill, the 2019 State Junior of the Year, only played four games and should she be Ms. Softball since Sarah Willis of Norco, the other top candidate, already had a pitching loss this season? Of course not. We’ll just have to leave the 2020 season with no selection.
*For many of the same reasons about limited sample size explained above, there also will be no all-state teams or all-state honors for baseball and softball for the 2020 season. We do have seasons in the books (other than the last games of basketball) for the rest of the school year, however, so there are enough championships won in all sports combined to select a State Athlete of the Year (boys & girls) and also State Schools of the Year.
*With no all-state teams, we will be looking for additional ways to honor those seniors from 2020 who are not going to play a senior season of baseball or softball. One feature that will start next week and will be running on the site well into the summer will be Senior Salutes. These would be specifically for those in baseball and softball who were projected to be an all-state nominee or higher. We’ll run the first series of Senior Salutes next week with some guidelines over which players will qualify and we will be encouraging others to give us the info on those we should be featuring.
*We also will be adding additional recruiting coverage for baseball and softball players for the rest of the spring. We are pleased to announce that well-known softball evaluator Carlos Arias, formerly of OC Sidelines and the Orange County Register and currently a contributor to ExtraInningSoftball.com, will be doing our first Hot 100 player rankings for the Class of 2020 and will be doing a Hot 100 for the Class of 2021.
*Both of the previously posted all-time State Top 50 or State Top 55 team rankings for baseball and softball will be updated and re-purposed in the coming months. We also plan to update as many state record categories as we can for baseball and softball in addition to updating as many categories as possible for football, boys basketball and girls basketball.
*Some of our usual spring football features that in the past have not been done until June likely will be done earlier, including new Hot 100 Player Rankings for Class of 2021, final Hot 100 for Class of 2020 and a first look at Class of 2022.
*In short, we’ll have plenty of work to do and plenty of continuing authentic content to keep pouring into this site. We know many others around the state are suffering in many different ways a lot more than us due to the Coronavirus. We will continue to promote social distancing guidelines and encourage everyone to stay safe. If anyone ever has any other ideas of how we can help or get the word out about someone’s particular situation, please let us know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 209-608-1317.