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San Diego lawsuit seeks resumption of high school sports

A lawsuit has been filed in San Diego Superior Court on behalf of two high school football players seeking an order to require the state and county to remove restrictions on high school sports competitions and allow immediate resumption of activities.

The plaintiffs are Nicholas Gardinera, a senior running back at Scripps Ranch in San Diego and the son of head coach Marlon Gardinera, and senior running back Cameron Woolsey of Mission Hills in San Marcos.

High school sports competitions have been restricted because of the COVID-19 pandemic since March, while college and pro sports have resumed. A colored-tier system put out by the governor’s office and the California Department of Public Health only allows some outdoor sports in the most-restrictive purple tier, which includes San Diego County.

The lawsuit filed Thursday does not challenge the governor’s authority to issue COVID-19 disaster declarations or executive orders but focuses on the “cancelation and/or indefinite delay of the fall/winner 2020-21 high school sports season.”

Marlon Gardinera said in an email, “As a parent and coach, exactly how long was I supposed to wait to have our voices heard on our children’s behalf?”

He’s hoping for a hearing next week in seeking a temporary restraining order.

Football is allowed in the state’s less-restrictive orange color tier, making it highly unlikely to be played this school year in most counties. Schools have been given until the end of April by the CIF to finish their high school football seasons. A delay in the fall season was announced last July by the CIF because of state health restrictions. An attempt to start this month has been on hold.

Stephen Grebing of Wingert Grebing Brubaker & Justice LLP is the lead attorney on the case.