High school athletic transfers are down, significantly, in recent months. Yes, it’s COVID-19 related. 

A few examples, these coming from Rob Wigod, the CIF-Southern Section Commissioner, who may well have the toughest job imaginable in trying to get an athletic season off the ground. He gave us some numbers: 

* July 2020, there were 66 transfers, compared to 258 last year. 

* August 2020 ⎯ 168, but there were 1,673 last year. 

* Last month, September, 239, but 933 last year. 

* Total 2020 transfers in those three 2020 months ⎯ 493. 

* Total transfers during July, August and September 2019 ⎯ 2,864. 

* It’s nearly an 83 percent decrease. 

That’s a lot less work for athletic administrators. 

Folks, that’s a huge, huge reduction in transfers. 

I guess the question is this: Why transfer if an athletic season may not even be played? 

In circulating with a variety of area athletic personnel, plus a few administrators, I’m finding tons of optimism. They must be paying extra for that optimistic approach. 

Matt Maeda, San Gorgonio. 

Boyd Lium, Citrus Valley. 

Matt Carpenter, Yucaipa. 

Estevan Valencia, Redlands. 

Each is an athletic director on their respective campuses. 

Each has worked like crazy to organize everything in order to be ready ⎯ that is, if they’ll have athletics. 

Then there are on-campus administrators, who are hoping for an athletic season. 

Most all of them are saying, privately and not to be identified, that they don’t see an athletic season happening. 

The reigning question is simple: If they don’t allow students back on campus, what makes anyone believe they’ll allow athletic contests? 

Carpenter summarized it succinctly: “If they don’t allow students back on campus but they allow games to be played, it’ll look like they’re prioritizing athletics over academics.” 

Which won’t happen. 

This isn’t me talking. This is our school personnel, who admit they don’t know anything for certain. 

Get ready for a letdown. 

We’re hoping for good news, of course. 

* * * 

Back in July, Cal State Northridge women’s golf coach Gina Umeck ⎯ both a former Redlands and Redlands East Valley golfer from the late 1990s ⎯ said there was a hold on recruiting until October. 

So when the Symetra Golf Tour ⎯ billed as the “Road to the LPGA” ⎯ showed up at nearby Tukwet Canyon Golf Club in Beaumont, one might’ve figured she’d attend with her dad, retired teacher and golf coach, Bob Umeck. 

“I can’t go due to recruiting rules, unfortunately,” said Gina. 

How can she recruit professional golfers to a college campus? 

“Because,” she said, “they aren’t all pros.” 

* * * 

More from CIF: A double yellow card in soccer will result in ejection from that match, but in an 87-7 vote (one abstention), players won’t miss the next match via suspension as in recent years. 

* * * 

Back to transfers. Here are a few reasons for CIF allowing transfers: 

They include divorced parents, safety, financial hardships, foster kid-related, military, court-ordered and a couple of school board rulings. 

Most transfers, believe it or not, come down to discontinued programs. 

Example: If School A discontinued football ⎯ which could occur at a small private school ⎯ then you’d have to allow a player to jump onto a different campus. 

* * * 

Ed Clark, 61, who is still teaching at Golden Valley Middle School in San Bernardino, retired as San Gorgonio’s track & field coach over a decade ago with plenty of success. He’ll be inducted into San G’s Hall of Fame on Feb. 20, 2021. 

Expect to read in future weeks at least one View From Above column and a feature that’s associated with Clark’s 1999-2012 connections to the Spartans’ track program. There’s loads to tell about this guy. 

There are a couple of nuggets that probably won’t make it into either piece, though. One is this: 

Clark, who played football, ran track, played some basketball and baseball, was knocked out by a knee injury during his high school days at Pacific High. So what did he do? 

“I went out for the soccer team?” 

Wait. Soccer? Knee injury? There’s lots of running in soccer, isn’t there? 

“I went out for goalie,” he said.

Not as much running in that position. 

“My football training got me ready for that position,” he said, referring to aggressive needs to cover the goal. 

Graduated Pacific High, 1978. 

The second note on Clark: “We found a lot of kids on our team (313 boys and girls alone on the Spartans’ 2007 roster) that were productive in track that might’ve been better in other sports.” 

Throw this in: For seven straight years, the school’s valedictorian at graduation came from the track program. 

“That doesn’t have anything to do with track,” he said. “It’s just that’s the kind of kids we had on the team.”

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