Coronavirus & Preps: Does the court system provide best path back for indoor sports in California?

A San Diego lawyer who won a court ruling that could pave the way for the return of all youth sports said he planned to file similar lawsuits in Alameda and San Francisco counties as well as other Bay Area jurisdictions.

Stephen C. Grebing, the managing partner of Wingert Grebing of San Diego, said the two suits were expected to be filed sometime Tuesday with others, including one in Santa Clara County, coming as early as this week.

The legal moves come on the heels of a ruling by San Diego County Superior Court Judge Earl H. Maas III on Friday shortly after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced California was loosening its rules on outdoor sports statewide. Indoor sports still are sidelined with stricter rules before they are permitted.

The judge granted a temporary restraining order allowing indoor and outdoor high school and youth sports to resume in San Diego County “as long as the(y) follow the same or similar COVID-19 protocols imposed for competition in professional and/or collegiate sports within the county.”

State officials have disputed that judge’s interpretation and San Diego County has moved forward under the revised guidelines released by the Department of Public Health.

The ruling drew almost immediate interest from California youth sports advocates fighting for indoor competition. They interpreted the ruling as a potential path to a longshot season in basketball volleyball and some other sports. Grebing said Tuesday that he received 50 emails in the first five hours after the decision.

One email came Saturday from Randy Bessolo, the boys’ basketball coach at University High School in San Francisco.

“Yeah, I woke up Saturday morning angry,” Bessolo said.

Before contacting Grebing, Bessolo talked to a pair of players that he had coached since youth ball. Their immediate reaction: “Heck yeah, let’s go,” Bessolo said.

The coach said Tuesday the players, juniors Adrian Di Lena and Grant Lyon, are suing San Francisco over its youth sports guidelines.

“It takes some conviction to do this and put yourself out there like that,” Bessolo said. “They were a logical starting point, and both of them want to fight and make it happen.”

The players grew up attending St. Stephens Catholic School in San Francisco but have gone to different high schools — Di Lena at St. Ignatius and Lyon at University.

Their lawsuit will take a similar approach to the one in San Diego County, Grebing said. The San Diego case was modeled after previous suits that helped youth and high school sports return in other states, he added.

The San Diego case featured two arguments: youth athletes were not given the same chance to play as their peers in college and the pros, and that by prolonging the shutdown, student-athletes would suffer irreparable harm.

The plaintiffs filed supporting letters from Dr. Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine at UC San Francisco, and San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephens. The state, acting as the primary defendant, presented only “secondary and derivative” evidence, the judge wrote.

State attorneys presented a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the judge said …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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