File photo/Kerensa Uyeta-Buckley

Under the new schedule released by the Sac-Joaquin Section, football would begin Jan. 8.

In a move that falls in line with the decision by Sacramento County to continue with distance learning when the 2020-21 school year starts, the California Interscholastic Federation on July 20 released a modified high school sports season for 2020-21 that obliterates the fall months completely and shifts fall sports such as football and cross-country to start in the winter.

Shortly after the CIF release, the Sac-Joaquin Section released its prep sports schedule, which has a start date of Jan. 8 for varsity and JV football and Dec. 29 for girls and boys volleyball and cross country.

The SJS playoffs would end April 10 for football, March 20 for cross country, and March 13 for boys and girls volleyball. The CIF State Championships or regional championships, depending on the sport, would end April 17 for football, March 20 for boys and girls volleyball, April 17 for traditional competitive cheer and March 27 for cross country.

The winter season shifted as well; whereas basketball would normally be in the middle of playoffs in the first week of March, this season, the first day of basketball games will begin March 9. Practice would begin Feb. 22 and the last regular season game would take place May 28.

According to the SJS, wrestling for boys and girls would start March 8, girls and boys soccer would start March 1, girls and boys golf would start March 29 and tennis (girls, boys and co-ed) would start March 8.

There will be more overlap than usual this year with winter and spring sports; while some winter sports teams who reach the regional or state championships can play several weeks into the spring season, this time around, spring sports will actually be starting just a few weeks after sports that typically play in the winter.

Swimming, baseball and softball are all projected to start March 22, and track and field will start May 7.

The playoff schedule for both winter and spring sports spans about three weeks; soccer, swimming and tennis section playoffs would end May 29; wrestling section playoffs would end June 5; basketball and boys and girls golf section playoffs are scheduled to end June 12; and baseball, softball, and track and field playoffs would end June 19.

The state championships for soccer, swimming and tennis would end June 5; wrestling state championships would end June 12, CIF basketball would end June 19, CIF golf playoffs would end June 23; and state baseball, softball, and track and field championships would end June 26.

Both the CIF and SJS’s Will DeBoard noted that this year, Bylaws 600-605, which concern outside competition, will be temporarily suspended.

Students will be able to compete on an outside (travel ball/club) team at the same time they compete on their high school athletic team. This rule is in effect for this year only.

In a Zoom meeting with reporters on July 20, DeBoard noted that the football postseason has been shortened by one week, and that there will be 10 divisions for football with 10 championships.

While football practice won’t begin until Dec. 7, the SJS is under summer rules until Jan. 7; football teams will be able to participate in 7 on 7s prior to Jan. 7.

The modified schedule also notes that pre-season dead periods have been eliminated this year.

Adding to the mix, this year is a realignment year, which will have the SJS holding realignment meetings in October and running through January.