Orange County Cancels Youth Sports Practices

The state of California has issued new guidelines amid a rising number of coronavirus cases in the state that prohibits and postpones all youth sports practices.

According to a press release put out by Orange County officials on Thursday, “The state of California has recently amended its guidance regarding youth sports practices, team drills and training and will no longer allow them to occur throughout the state.”

“At this time, youth sports activities including practices will be postponed until further direction is provided from the State. Currently, there is no scheduled time by which the state will re-open youth sports. The County of Orange allowed youth sports practice, team drills and training to re-open on June 15, 2020.”

The Orange County Department of Education updated their policy after speaking to the California Department of Public Health earlier this week.

State health department confirms youth sports not yet permitted

The California Department of Public Health has confirmed that youth sports, including conditioning activities associated with high school athletic programs, are not yet permitted under the agency’s current guidance.

Following questions from local school districts, and in response to a news story from Sacramento, OCDE contacted state health officials this week to get clarification on whether recreational team sports were allowed. Specifically, there were questions over whether youth sports were covered by the industry guidance for day camps.

CDPH officials stated unequivocally that youth sports were not currently permitted, adding that guidance would be released at some point in the future.

In an advisory issued to local superintendents on July 6, OCDE General Counsel Jeff Riel advised school districts to hold off on resuming their summer youth sports programs until there was “specific guidance provided by CDPH regarding recreational team sports or school-based sports.”

“Once statewide guidance is released, we will collectively work with the local public health officer to consider local community conditions when implementing the statewide guidance,” Riel wrote.

The Orange County Department of Education does not have oversight of youth sports or athletic programs, but OCDE often assists local districts with legal clarifications and guidance.

The Mission Viejo Nadadores were one of the country’s first USA Swimming clubs to announce that it had returned to training, reopening their practices in April to a select group of swimmers after a month and a half out of the water. While they received permission from Mission Viejo, whose mayor Brian Goodell competed in swimming at the 1976 Olympics, it wasn’t clear at the time whether they were aligned with the rules of California or of Orange County.

According to Orange County, it appears that the state has unequivocally said that youth sports practices are not permitted. But swim teams in Orange County were practicing before the county’s June 15th opening date, so it’s still unclear which government entity’s guidelines are given ultimate authority in the matter.

Mission Viejo is located within Orange County. Several other Orange County teams followed suit in restarting practices with social distancing protocols in place. We have reached out to the Nadadores to see how the latest ruling from Orange County will impact their plans going forward.

California has the most confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States and the 6th-most deaths from COVID-19. As the state with the largest population, however, it is doing better than the national average in both categories per-capita.

Orange County, specifically, has registered just over 22,000 positive tests and 376 deaths. New daily positive test numbers in California are steadily increasing, though to a lower degree than states like Texas and Florida. The number of new daily cases in California has roughly tripled since June 1, with around 7,900-per-day over the last week. In general, southern California, and especially Los Angeles, has seen higher infection rates than northern California.

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1 year ago

Confusing! In addition to reaching out to the MV Nadadores, has there been any outreach to Novaquatics in Irvine?

SoCal swimr
Reply to  10U DAD
1 year ago

We (Nova) are not able to practice beginning tomorrow from what we were just told. What’s coach going to have us do now? I hope it is not running Newport and swimming around the jetties. That sucks.

cynthia curran
Reply to  SoCal swimr
1 year ago

Nova is not Disneyland. Disneyland got to open up some shops and restaurants in Downtown since they are the big employer in Orange County. They want to make money and so does Anaheim. Swimming doesn’t make money so it can be delayed more.

1 year ago

My hometown has 8,300 total cases (~36.6%).

1 year ago

Confusing for sure because “camps” are still allowed in groups of 12:1 correct?

1 year ago

It will be interesting to see how they define “youth sports.” Are college swimmers still allowed to practice? Can Schubert and Salo still run workouts for post grads? There is a lot of gray area here. I hope as many swimmers as possible still have access to the water (abiding by all health regulations, etc.)

SoCal Swim Dad
Reply to  Coach
1 year ago

Confusing for sure. Hopefully, everyone does the right thing. Kudos to Coach Salo and the other coaches who have placed the welfare of their swimmers first. Since the mayor of MV and the unofficial mayor of MV, already disobeyed state orders, I doubt they will listen this time.

Sid Frisco
Reply to  SoCal Swim Dad
1 year ago

SoCal swim dad, if any evidence supports swimming under the guidelines has impacted welfare of any swimmers you will be hard pressed to find it.

1 year ago

I’ll bet Mission Viejo avoids following the rules; that’s their culture. I’ll never forget watching / hearing that coach emotionally riping and accessing 13 fines (for “errors”) on a 14-15 year old girl, after she swam her heart out in a 400 IM at a SoCal meet… This A.G. National Record holder later quit our amazing sport! That coach is simply an amazing bully. All the best to those families.

cynthia curran
Reply to  Swim2TheTop
1 year ago

Yes, but there is a double standard. Disneyland gets to open up some shops and restaurants since its is the biggest employer in Orange County. Now, they have to do extra precautions but sports like swimming that don’t make money will stay closed a lot longer.

Reply to  Swim2TheTop
1 year ago

I thought only the ELITES got to practice for MVN. Is the entire club practicing?

Reply to  Jordanwins2golds
1 year ago

Yes they are. From my understanding they have some kids coming in @ 400 AM even. It’s not just about the elites as commenters here would have you believe.

1 year ago

Feel free to tell coach schubert he can’t have what he wants. Then call your lawyer because he will sue you. They (mvn) circumvented the rules in April trying to claim that it was a private pool and club so they could do what they want. You know, the pool the city owns and taxpayers just rebuilt that their 501(c)3 public entity team rents. Law>mvn.

Sid Frisco
Reply to  CoachdotUSdotMIL
1 year ago

Shouldn’t the discussion be about how to keep swimmers in the pool? Or would you prefer that no one swims?

Reply to  Sid Frisco
1 year ago

Would prefer an even training field that promotes safety rather than the old men manipulating the system(and people) to serve themselves. So much more than sport at stake right now. Getting swimmers in the pool will happen and once they are all back in the best will rise to the top. There is no advantage to be gained at this point other than ego.

Sid Frisco
Reply to  Coachdotusdotmil
1 year ago

Once they are all back? What does that even mean? Once they are all back such as teams already holding sanctioned meets? On another note, seems like you are going after someone in particular rather than focusing on our sport and the benefits of swimmers being in the pool.

1 year ago

So a 14 year old can attend lap swim at a public pool swimming one per lane. However, that swimmer is not able to attend a swim practice at the same pool swimming one per lane? Many of the CA shelter in place rules make no sense.

1 year ago

The fact that some counties are now disallowing youth sports activities is not the result of new order from the state or every county would be shut down. There are counties that have chosen to interpret language differently and they are still practicing. Others, like Merced and perhaps Orange, have now chosen to close down youth sports because they have been threatened by the Governors office that they will not receive funding if they dont fall in line. Others who have received CARES funding and aren’t as dependent on the whims of a vindictive Governor for non comploance remain open.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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