Prep coaches say Newsom’s sports timeline a ‘shock’ – Daily Democrat

Leading return-to-play advocates for youth and high school sports in California demanded clarification from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office and described a timeline released in a statement Thursday night as “out of left field” from what had been discussed in recent talks.

In the statement provided to Sacramento TV station KCRA, following a rally held by Let Them Play CA outside the state Capitol, the Governor’s office said, “We are working on updates to youth sports guidance and hope to share details in the next two weeks.” Five hours after this news organization asked for clarification, the Governor’s office released a new statement: “We are looking to move as quickly and as safely as possible.”

Patrick Walsh, the head football coach at Serra High School in San Mateo and co-founder of the Golden State High School Football Coaches Community, said Friday morning that they were told a decision was coming “within days” and that “the can has been kicked far enough down the road.”

Justin Alumbaugh, the coach at De La Salle and another member of the coaches community, said the two-week timeline was “completely out of left field” and “contrary to our discussions.”

The two coaches were left unsatisfied with the state’s clarification Friday evening.

“Safely returning our youth back to playing the sports that are important for their physical and mental health is a priority for California,” press secretary Daniel Lopez said in a statement. “As we continue to work to balance those benefits against COVID-19 risks based on level of spread across our community and transmission risk associated with specific activities and settings, we are always evaluating conditions on the ground and new scientific evidence to assess when and how we can update our guidance. We are looking to move as quickly and as safely as possible.”

A separate coach texted this news organization Thursday night after the statement was released and said that Newsom had “killed football in CA.”

March 1, two weeks from Monday, has been circled as a key date for high school football in California. If teams are allowed to begin preparing for a season by the beginning of March, it could allow for a five-week season by the mandated April 17 end date.

Publicly, Newsom had appeared to hint at a more expedient timeline for a decision on youth and high school sports.

Most recently, Newsom said Wednesday in Fresno that he was committed “to let these kids back out on the field of play” and that “in the next number of days” he would be able to provide more specifics.

Ron Gladnick, the football coach at Torrey Pines and another member of the coaches community, was more optimistic that “things would happen much faster” than the full two weeks allowed by the timeline.

“(Jim DeBoo) and (Gavin Newsom) are going to come through for kids,” Gladnick wrote Thursday night on Twitter. “I believe it.”

Walsh, Alumbaugh and Gladnick have been part of recent meetings with Gov. Newsom’s office and the California Department of Public Health, along with Let Them Play co-founder Brad Hensley.

The two groups converged on the state Capitol Thursday to hold a 45-minute rally and deliver thousands of letters with personal pleas from athletes, parents and coaches to loosen the youth and high-school sports restrictions. That morning, Walsh had spoken on the phone with Jim DeBoo, a top Newsom aide, he said.

The groups rallied Thursday at the Capitol because “time is of the essence,” Hensley said in his public address. Later that night, he acknowledged on Facebook Live the two-week timeline was news to his Let Them Play CA group and described it as “disheartening” and “frustrating.”

Hensley said he had another meeting scheduled for Friday and that the elongated timeline would be “the No. 1 thing that is addressed.”

This content was originally published here.

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