California follows Nevada, opens prep football for spring season

Punahou defensive back Kilinahe Mendiola-Jensen is popular with college recruiters. He signed with UNLV. Photo by Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser

Nevada, and now California.

The Golden State has followed the footsteps of the Silver State. California’s Department of Public Health gave the go-ahead to organized youth sports on Friday. The Los Angeles Times reported that the department discussed matters with CIF coaches and officials for weeks.

The declining rate of COVID-19 is another major factor. In Nevada, football is resuming soon after a declaration by the state earlier in the week. However, Clark County’s public schools, home to the largest number of football programs in Nevada and home to Las Vegas, have opted out of playing football this spring. West Coast states are among the last nationwide to allow organized youth and high school sports. There are now 45 states that have played football in fall or winter, or plan to play this spring.

Hawaii’s COVID rates are declining, though football was postponed and cancelled by four of the state’s five leagues under rigid restrictions. In California’s Los Angeles County, the color tier system requires a daily case rate of 14 or less per 100,000 population to allow higher-risk sports like football.

Oahu, with 1 million residents, would have a requirement of 140 cases or less by the same metrics. The current seven-day moving average is 31.

There are no plans by Hawaii’s DOE and public-school leagues to restart football. Only the private-school Interscholastic League of Honolulu expects to play football spring.

“I just like the fact that (mainland) states are being optimistic to start. It feels like they’re trying to find ways to restart where we’re finding all the reasons not to,” Konawaena Coach Brad Uemoto said. “People can complain about us pushing sports, but as coaches, athletic directors and league executives, our passion revolves around sports, so we should be on the side of optimism.”

California’s grass-roots, social-media driven movement led by coaches and parents had an impact. In Hawaii, the Safe Sports Hawaii resolution was passed by the Honolulu City Council three weeks ago and is in the hands of Mayor Rick Blangiardi.


  1. Hboy February 20, 2021 1:42 am

    Let’s start sports up. Have safety protocols in place, enforce it and allow youth a somewhat normal life to occur.

  2. APEX February 20, 2021 1:11 pm

    HAWAII…..always behind the curve…..always playing catch up……government and officials boasting and patting themselves on the back for having some of the lowest numbers throughout the US during this pandemic. Im sure being the 4th smallest state and being the most isolated mass on PLANET EARTH has nothing to do with it.

  3. Gimmieabreak February 21, 2021 7:44 pm

    Wait so obviously no high schools are testing in Cali (imagine how many tests that is). Yet they can do it?

    Why aren’t we?

    How is it that we are in Tier 2, yet ILH isn’t held to the same standards as the rest of Oahu? Is the Governor and Mayor only the Governor and Mayor of the OIA?! Hey Democrats, the answer is NOT stop the ILH it’s Let everyone play already. No fans all live stream.

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