With the Los Angeles Unified School District teacher strike coming to an end, athletics can resume.
On Wednesday, teachers returned to class and players returned to practice.
That puts the onus on basketball teams to reschedule as many games as possible before Feb. 2, when the seeding committee will convene to determine playoff brackets.
Some rules have been relaxed to help them do so, CIF Los Angeles City Section spokesperson Dick Dornan said Tuesday.
Typically, Saturday games are not allowed. They will be this weekend. Teams will be allowed to play doubleheaders if needed, and some leagues are considering round-robin tournaments to make up as many games as possible.
Most teams missed two or three games during the strike, Dornan said.
Almost every team is already scheduled to play three games net week on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. That will make it difficult to put in the extra games.
“Are they going to make them all up between now and Feb. 1?,” Dornan said. “Probably not. So we’re giving the autonomy to every league to figure out what they want to do.”
The most important thing for teams to do is reschedule league games they missed. In doing so, it will be much easier for playoff seeding.
For instance, the current City Section Open Division boys basketball frontrunners Westchester and Fairfax had two games scheduled against each other, one at each location. The strike forced them to miss the one at Westchester.
That game has been rescheduled to Jan. 31.
The seeding committee will have two games to determine which team is better.
However, if teams have similar records but did not play against each other, it would be much more difficult to decide their positions.
“The toughest part for the seeding committee will be when we come across a league and maybe your top two teams, or two of the top three teams in the league, didn’t go head-to-head and they’re in the same division,” Dornan said.
Any game missed because of the strike and not rescheduled will be considered a no-contest.
There are 152 schools in CIF-LA. Eighty-eight are LAUSD members and the remaining 64 are charter schools. The charter schools were not directly affected by the strike, because it was the LAUSD office that declared teams were not allowed to practice or play, not the CIF-LA.
However, if a charter school was scheduled against an LAUSD program, it would have missed that game.
The CIF-LA decided against changing the playoff schedule because availability with buses and officials would have become an issue, Dornan said. It was easier to ask schools to reschedule the missed regular-season games.
The one change is that four extra basketball teams in Divisions 2 through 5 will be in the playoffs. Four extra soccer teams in Divisions 1 through 5 will be added.
“We know they lost a lot playing dates, and we’re giving them a chance to recuperate by making the playoffs,” Dornan said.
Wrestling regional qualifiers are Feb. 9 and girls water polo playoffs begin Feb. 4. Those two sports were not heavily affected by the strike, Dornan said. Water polo only has about 20 teams while wrestling matches are typically large tournaments, so they might have missed one event but wouldn’t miss two to three games.
But the soccer leagues, like basketball, are “scrambling” to be prepared to start the boys playoffs on Feb. 6 and girls on Feb. 7.
Dornan is thankful the strike ended when it did. Teams are mandated to take one day to practice before games can resume Thursday.
“It’s better than the strike going right into the playoffs and creating a complete mess,” he said.