(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Settlement clears path for all youth, high school sports to resume in California

John Maffei

The San Diego Union-Tribune

All youth and high school sports in California, including those played indoors, will be able to resume when a county reaches an adjusted COVID-19 case rate of 14.0 or lower per 100,000, under terms of a lawsuit settlement announced Thursday morning.

High-contact outdoor sports such as football and water polo and all indoor sports will be subject to testing.

San Diego County’s case rate this week was 10.2.

The suit was filed last month in San Diego Superior Court by Nicholas Gardinera and Cameron Woolsey, football players from Scripps Ranch High and Mission Hills High, against the County of San Diego, the California Department of Health and Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Attorneys for the pair secured a Temporary Restraining Order two weeks ago, allowing prep sports to resume in San Diego County. The announcement of a statewide settlement was made at a news conference at Torrey Highlands Park, one day before a hearing for a permanent injunction was to be heard by Superior Court Judge Earl Maas in Vista.

“This will open things open for youth sports — high school and youth leagues — around the state to resume play,” said the father of Nicholas Gardinera, Scripps Ranch football coach Marlon Gardinera.

“And not just football, but indoor sports, too. So basketball, volleyball and wrestling athletes can have a season, too.”

Football practice has resumed in San Diego and many other counties around the state. First games/scrimmages in San Diego are scheduled for March 12. Other sports such as cross country and tennis have begun their seasons.

Among the concerns for a return to play across the state is testing for athletes and coaches. Two weeks ago Newsom said the state would pay for testing for football and water polo athletes. There has been concern, however, if that plan will be carried out and if there will be equitable testing for high-income and low-income areas.

Gardinera said testing solutions would be offered.

“This is very exciting news,” Gardinera said. “Our athletes — statewide — have been on the sidelines too long. It’s time to get back playing.”

Also in attendance at the news conference were Torrey Pines High football coach Ron Gladnick, head of the Golden State Football Coaches Community; Brad Hensley, from Let Them Play CA; and attorney Stephen Grebing, who represented Gardinera and Woolsey in the case.

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.

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