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Settlement could allow return of all youth sports in CA, including indoor play

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. - Organizers of the 'Let Them Play' announced a settlement has been reached in the lawsuit against the County of San Diego, The State Department of Health and Governor Gavin Newsom. The lawsuit was spearheaded by Scripps Ranch High School football coach Marlon Gardinera on behalf of his son.

“Today, for all high school athletes in California, Christmas has come early,” Gardinera said.

The settlement allows all high school sports to resume in California. All players and sports will follow protocols put in place for college and professional sports.

“We’re not going to stop until they’re playing and today was a huge, huge step in terms of achieving that,” said Brad Hensley of Let Them Play CA.

The settlement also includes assistance for school districts regarding testing. Coach Marlon Gardinera announced that there will be no out-of-pocket costs. Originally Governor Newsom said all sports testing would be provided, He since walked that statement back and said the state is only providing tests for football, water polo and rugby. However, the group has found a partnership to get all the testing that is needed.

“I couldn’t express enough gratitude for the people who got together and knew how important this was, physically, mentally, emotionally for these young kids,” said Xavier Prep Girls Basketball Coach Thadd Bosley.

Coaches of indoor high school sports here in the Coachella Valley were following the news closely. 

“That’s just a step in the right direction that we’ve all been waiting for, we have something to play for,” said Shadow Hills Boys Basketball Coach Ryan Towner.

“It’s Christmas morning for your kids, like, you know all the presents are downstairs, they’re running down, you know, you can’t wait to see their reaction to news like this,” Bosley said.

The Assistant Commissioner of CIF Southern Section Thom Simmons said in a statement to News Channel 3:

It is our understanding that the California Department of Public Health ("CDPH") will be updating its Youth Sports Guidance based on a settlement agreement reached in a litigation matter pending in San Diego County.  It is further our understanding that the settlement agreement is not yet available for review.  We are therefore reserving comment on the terms of the agreement until it is finalized.  Until such time, it is our understanding that the current CDPH Youth Sports Guidance remains in effect pending the publication of any updated CDPH guidance.

Thom Simmons, Assistant Commissioner of CIF Southern Section

Updated guidance from CDPH could come as soon as Friday.

“The thing that I’ve always told my boys is just stay ready… if anything happens, if they say we’re going to start tomorrow, we’re going to be ready and if they don’t, we’ll be ready for next season,” Towner said.

Even if approved by the state health department, the decision to play indoor sports ultimately comes down to individual schools and school districts.

“I would ask those local authorities that have the ability to let them play, please, let them play. It’s time. These kids have had nothing for 11 months and they truly, truly need this,” said Hensley.

Outdoor high school sports, including football, were approved to play earlier this week in Riverside County.

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Taylor Begley

Taylor Begley is a Sports Anchor and Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. You can also catch her anchoring weather on the weekends. Learn more about Taylor here.


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