How the LAUSD teacher strike affects high school sports this winter

After weeks of an anticipated LAUSD teacher strike expected begin on Thursday, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) announced Wednesday that the strike will start Monday if an agreement is not reached.

The postponement keeps all LAUSD school activities, including class and athletics on schedule through the weekend. But if the strike does begin Monday, it could put LAUSD high school athletics significantly behind schedule.

The looming – and what looks to be imminent – strike has sent the Los Angeles City Section front office into a scramble after the LAUSD sent out a release this past Monday stating “all practices/contests, including those occurring in the evenings, weekends, or at non-District locations, will be canceled in the event of a work stoppage.”

In short, a teacher strike means no games, practices or activities for the 152 high schools in the City Section. It doesn’t affect any Southern Section schools. If there were an official stoppage, this would directly affect all City Section winter sports, such as boys/girls basketball, boys/girls soccer, girls water polo, and wrestling for the duration of the strike.

Even though many programs have played a number of games already this season, the games affected will be league contests. League competition is the primary way the City Section organizes and seeds postseason play. The longer the strike lasts, the more league contests will not be played.

“The playoffs are only about five weeks away,” City Section Sports Information Dick Dornan said. “The seeding meetings for basketball and soccer are on weekend of Feb. 2…this strike can potentially leave many teams with incomplete league standings, leaving an imbalanced number of games played.”

The postponement of the strike will make things more difficult, but not impossible. The longer the strike lasts, the window to make up unplayed games becomes smaller once the strike concludes.

“Any games that are lost during the strike, we want to encourage schools to re-schedule those games between the end of the strike and the beginning of the playoffs. If both teams cannot agree to a makeup date, the game is considered a ‘no contest’ – no winner, no loser, it’s as if the game is not on the schedule,” Dornan explained.

A revised playoff schedule by the City Section has been spoken about, allowing teams to make up games. But it all has to be finished by the CIF State timeline, which requires all section champions to be determined by Feb. 26. As of now, basketball and soccer City Section championships are still scheduled for Feb. 20-23.. Although, girls water polo championships are schedule for Feb. 14 and wrestling finals are on Feb. 15-16.

“First priority as a section is to get all championship games played,” said Dornan.

Full charter schools like Granada Hills, El Camino Real, Birmingham, and Palisades can continue to compete as if the strike never took place. Some charter educators are unionized through UTLA and their own bargaining units, negotiating their own contracts with their own charter management operators. This puts charter school teachers in their own chapter of UTLA and will not strike because they are not LAUSD employees.

The West Valley League in the San Fernando Valley is made up of a mixture of LAUSD and charter high schools. Next week, Taft High is scheduled host El Camino Real (a full charter school) on Monday, but if there’s a strike, the game will not be played. However, the Granada Hills game against El Camino Real on Wednesday, Jan. 16 will be played because they are both full charters. This is how a league imbalance could occur.

“It’s hard for the kids because of course they want to play,” said Narbonne boys basketball coach Anthony Hilliard, a physical education teacher, said. “They will still have sixth period P.E., so that’s still a class, but we’re not sure who will be teaching the class. It might be chaos.”

Damian Calhoun contributed to this report.

 

***

Note from WSOE.Org : This content has been auto-generated from a syndicated feed.