NCS approves calendar revisions; purple-tier sports cleared to start Monday

The North Coast Section Board of Managers approved calendar revisions Friday, clearing the way for sports that can be contested in the state’s most restrictive reopening tier to start Monday.

The plan was passed by the section’s executive committee two weeks ago but needed the Board of Managers’ approval to be put into action.

The revisions give leagues that blanket the section’s 12 counties the autonomy to create schedules and calendar models that work best for them. Most, if not all leagues, have been working on models for weeks.

The section will not have playoffs or championships in any sport this school year, alleviating the necessity for leagues to build schedules around specific events.

The Board of Managers held firm with the April 17 end date for football after a motion earlier in the meeting to push the end date to the middle of June, which would have given the sport a better chance of clearing the two reopening tiers it needs to overcome to get the green light to start.

The April 17 date falls in line with the California Interscholastic Federation state office. Associate executive director Brian Seymour told the Bay Area News Group this month that the CIF’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee — which he oversees — concluded that a 12-week separation between the end of this school year’s football season and the beginning of a 30-day period that players are allowed to wear pads before the start of next season is necessary.

“There was a lot of discussions,” NCS commissioner Pat Cruickshank said about the April 17 date. “It went on for quite a while.”

The proposal passed fairly unanimously, Cruickshank added.

Football coaches don’t have to be told they are running out of time to salvage a season.

“Every day and week that goes by is potentially one less game that we’re going to be allowed to play,” James Logan football coach Ricky Rodriguez said. 

De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh said he is not worried about the end date so much as he wants a start date.

As one of the leaders of the Golden State HS Football Coaches Community, Alumbaugh and his colleagues are lobbying state officials to remove the tier restrictions for youth sports and allow play to begin now.

“The NCS is trying to do what they can; the CIF is, too,” Alumbaugh said. “It seems like everyone is trying to put their finger in the leak in the dam right now and ultimately it comes down to the state. April 17, May 1, if we don’t start soon, none of it matters.

“People ask me if I am disappointed. It is what it is. I don’t harbor any grudge against the NCS. They’re trying to do what they can. The biggest thing is the start date, not the end date. The NCS wants us to play. So does the CIF. The issue that we’re facing is we’ve kicked the can so far down the road we’re running out of road.”

The road is more direct for purple-tier sports — cross country, track and field, swimming and diving, tennis and golf. The Board of Managers’ approval Friday, coupled with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s removal of the state’s stay-at-home order Monday, cleared the path for those sports to start practice as early as Monday.

Red-tier sports — baseball, field hockey, girls lacrosse and softball — are next in line to get the green light.

Football is among the orange-tier sports.

“I am just happy that we have an opportunity for our kids to play,” Cruickshank said. “Hopefully, we get to red and orange and yellow, and we get a chance to get a few more things out there. But the fact that we’re going to get purple started and we’re going to see kids running and hitting the golf ball and playing tennis and swimming — whatever leagues decide to do — to me that’s a win and a step in the right direction.

“Maybe for the first time in a while, there is a little bit of joy in my heart for kids that are going to get an opportunity here.”

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Author: Darren Sabedra