SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The California Public Health Department has called an audible, as new state guidelines will limit spectators at outdoor events to one person per player.
This supervision is limited to a single adult or immediate family member older than the sport participant.
According to state officials, no other observers — including scouts and college recruiters — are allowed at this time.
On the night before the high school football season kicks off, this caught San Marcos athletics director Abe Jahadhmy off guard.
“At first we’re allowed to sell four tickets per athlete and then all of a sudden, we're going to go yank those tickets from them and tell them only one person in their family can show up to a game,” he said. “I mean it's crazy."
“If we have to go down to one, it's going to be pretty disheartening for a lot of our athletes and families,” Santa Barbara High School athletic director Todd Heil added.
With Santa Barbara versus San Marcos water polo games going on this afternoon; most parents, coaches and athletes weren't even aware of the new rule.
“I think they'll probably have to switch off,” one parent Kathleen Mclychok said. “Mom goes to one game, Dad goes the next."
“For our seniors that are playing their last season, for them not to be able to have their families there is really unfortunate,” Jahadhmy said.
This has some upset, including 35th district state assemblyman Jordan Cunningham from San Luis Obispo, who called the new guidance 'incredibly dumb.'
“That would make the youth sports guidance more restrictive than professional sports guidance,” he said. “We're about to have professional sports allowed to have spectators again, whereas youth sports are going to be more limited than that. “It makes no sense."
SLO public health director Penny Borenstein said feels bad for these families.
“My heart goes out to these families,” she said. “I know that people have been waiting for a long time to engage in participating with their student-athletes."
With only one fan per household allowed in the stands, these athletes must push past yet another obstacle.
“We're going to make it happen,” Jahadhmy concluded. “But it's going to be very difficult with all this uncertainty."