A settlement of a San Diego lawsuit over the prohibition of high school athletic competitions under Covid regulations allows for sports to return statewide.
By Kiera O’Hara-Heinz
On March 4, 2021, lawyers representing high school athletes in San Diego reached a settlement that allows for sports to resume statewide. The settlement requires counties to reach the Orange Tier where COVID-19 case rates are 14 per 100,000 people before resuming practicing and requires athletes and coaches of indoor sports to be tested for COVID-19 regularly.
The status of allowing for athletic competition is also subject to change at any time, depending on the level of COVID-19 transmission in the state. The California Department of Public Health website dictates that High School sports hoping to return to competing must follow the strict guidelines set out for College athletics which include strict testing requirements, contact tracing, and working with local health officials. Return to athletics is also dependent on the requirement that everyone involved, athletes, coaches, spectators, and support staff, wear masks.
A release by the law group Wingert Grebing Brubaker and Juskie llp, states that before the updated regulations, California was one of only three states to not allow High School sports teams to play competitive games. The lawsuit was filed on the behalf of High School football players Nicholas Gardinera and Cameron Woolsey, who sued the County of San Diego, and Governor Gavin Newsom. The goal of the lawsuit was to push the state to allow for students to return to competing.
The release by the law group also said that,”This long overdue relief is sought on the basis that current restrictions on playing high school sports violates the athletes’ right to equal protection under the law because the State and County have allowed College and Professional teams to play the same sports… high school students have been denied the opportunity to abide by these same safety guidelines and have been unfairly denied the chance to play the sports they love.”
The Los Angeles Times quotes Marlon Gardinera, the father of the plaintiff Nicholas Gardinera and a football coach at Scripps High School in San Diego, as saying, “All sports can resume in the state of California as a result of this lawsuit in San Diego County. We’re trying to clear a path for kids.”
In the Moraga area, a push to return student athletes back to practicing and competing has existed for several months, with a “Let Them Play” occurring on January 15, 2021. The new regulations regarding sports may not change much at local high schools surrounding Saint Mary’s where, occurring to the Diablo Athletic League’s February 22, Meeting Minutes, some sports have been allowed to practice and compete since early February while the county was still in Purple and Red tiers.
Despite this, high school athletes all over the state will be able to start back up their athletics, a new step forward to a return to normalcy from COVID-19.
Madison Sciba '24,