Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) athletes will be able to participate in two sports per season in the 2020-2021 school year.
This development comes soon after the North Coast Section of the California Interscholastic Federation’s decision to collapse winter sports into the fall and spring seasons because of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to athletic director Christina Amoroso, the dual-sport option will ensure smaller sports like golf, who would otherwise not have enough athletes, can compete given NCS’s new guidelines.
“[If dual sport participation wasn’t available], across the league you potentially would have schools not able to field teams. Now we’re a pretty large school in comparison across our league. It wouldn’t have affected us as much in our ability to build a team, but it would in our opponents,” Amoroso said.
Under current Marin County Health and Human Services guidelines, students may participate in a maximum of two cohorts simultaneously. Since the Tamalpais Unified High School District will be in remote learning through December, dual-sport athletes will count their two teams as their cohorts. However, if the district returns to in-person learning in the second semester and health guidelines aren’t loosened, athletes may have to choose to participate in one sport or continue remote learning.
“Potentially, if they wanted to do dual sport, then they could strategically do the remote option although that sounds a little odd,” Amoroso said. “I would hope a student wouldn’t have to choose to go remote to be in two different pods for sports.”
Additionally, to prevent spreading COVID-19, the athletic department will continue to have athletes fill out health surveys and participate in temperature checks before practices and games.
Tam athletes who chose to take part in the dual-sport program will have to indicate their primary and secondary sport. Athletes are expected to attend all of the primary sport’s games and only go to the secondary sport’s competitions if they don’t conflict with their primary sport.
“That way there isn’t any pressure on any of the coaches be like, ‘Hey we have a really big meet. We need you.’ We don’t want athletes in that position,” Amoroso said.
Sophomore Emma Palmer plans to choose basketball as her primary sport and lacrosse as her secondary sport.
“Basketball for me has always been my main sport that I took seriously from a young age,” Palmer said. “Lacrosse is more of a fun sport for me, and I don’t dedicate and train for that sport as much.”
Additionally, all dual sports athletes will still be limited to the standard 18 hours of total practice and competition time per week and four hours of participation daily. Games, regardless of their actual length, count as three hours of competition time. As a result, athletes may only attend one game per day.
Students are conflicted on whether or not to take on two sports this season.
“I need to make sure I’m not overworking myself,” senior Cassiopeia Kelly, who’s interested in playing basketball and lacrosse, said. “I’m playing two sports at once and they each have two-hour practices every day. I know that I will be exhausted and when I get home from that when I have time to do my homework.”
“I know it [the dual-sport program] will be hard, but I think just prioritizing my time, getting enough sleep, and not procrastinating on my homework will help,” Palmer said.
Amoroso recommends students consider their class and extracurricular load prior to committing to the dual-sport program.
“Each student needs to sit back and think ‘Is this realistically possible?’… This is something to really think over like a dinner table conversation with the family. Does it make sense? Really get an idea of the pros and cons and how you can schedule your time to make this work,” Amoroso said.
The athletic department will release a Google Form in early November for athletes to sign up for the dual-sport program.