Coach Gardinera excited that CIF San Diego will comply with court order to resume sports

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Attorneys for the San Diego section of the California Interscholastic Federation said Wednesday that the CIF will comply with a recent court order allowing youth sports to resume countywide, though whether sports activities resume will largely depend on the individual schools’ ability to meet testing standards and other COVID-19 protocols utilized by professional or collegiate teams.

Following last Friday’s temporary restraining order ruling by a Vista judge allowing youth sports in San Diego County to resume “as long as the(y) follow the same or similar COVID-19 protocols imposed for competition in professional and/or collegiate sports,” attorneys were back in court Wednesday morning to argue over whether the CIF was in contempt of the judge’s order.

Attorneys representing two local high school athletes who sued the state and county to resume youth sports alleged in a recent filing that the CIF has violated the court order by stating it would follow the state’s tiered reopening guidelines rather than the order issued by San Diego Superior Court Judge Earl H. Maas III.

In last week’s ruling, Maas wrote that he agreed with the plaintiffs that young athletes were not at greater risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19 than their professional or collegiate counterparts.

“The game is the same, the risk of spread is similar, the youth are already practicing and with school closures or limitations on attendance, youth are isolated,” Maas wrote.

CIF attorneys said in court Wednesday that the organization will comply with the order, but it could not be held in contempt because it was not a party to the lawsuit. Maas agreed and denied the contempt of court request, saying he did not have jurisdiction to do so.

A day prior, on Tuesday, the CIF issued a statement outlining its concerns with following the court order, particularly regarding financial impacts and equity issues for schools across the county.

CIF released a statement saying in part, “The San Diego Section of the CIF is excited to continue increasing in the number of education-based athletic opportunities for our student athletes and coaches throughout the section. Additionally, we have set the date of Friday, February 26, 2021, as the first practice date for the sports of football, and boys & girls soccer.”

As expected, young athletes and coaches across San Diego County were ecstatic to hear this news, especially Scripps Ranch Football coach Marlon Gardinera who has been leading the fight against the state’s ban with Torrey Pines football coach Ron Gladnick.

Gardinera joined KUSI’s Paul Rudy on Good Morning San Diego to discuss how we finally got to this point.

Gardinera said even though Governor Gavin Newsom is against it, indoor sports are on track to resume in San Diego County as well. Adding that it shouldn’t matter what Newsom thinks is best for our kids, explaining that that’s a decision for a parent.

Wednesday evening, KUSI’s Dan Plante spoke with Gardinera as practices were underway to capture the excitement and detail how it all came to be a reality.

RELATED STORY: CIF to honor temporary restraining order, resuming youth sports with COVID-19 precautions

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