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California Interscholastic Federation

California Interscholastic Federation
File:CIF State Seal.png
Abbreviation CIF
Motto "Dedicated to developing student-athletes of character"
Formation Template:If empty
Type NPO
Legal status Association
Purpose Athletic/Educational
Headquarters 4658 Duckhorn Drive
Sacramento, CA 95834
Region served
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Official language
Executive Director
Roger L. Blake
Affiliations National Federation of State High School Associations
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Formerly called
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The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) is the governing body for high school sports in the state of California. CIF membership includes both public and private high schools. Unlike most other state organizations, it does not have a single, state-wide championships for all sports; instead, for some sports, the CIF's 10 Sections each have their own championships.

Six schools near the state border are members of adjacent state's associations. San Pasqual Valley High School is part of the Arizona Interscholastic Association. Coleville High School, Needles High School, North Tahoe High School, South Tahoe High School and Truckee High School are part of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.


The CIF was founded in Los Angeles in 1914 by a group of area school principals. It was founded in order to standardize rules and team structures between schools; it was also intended to prevent abuses such as "school shopping" by athletes and teams fielding players over high school age. Other school principals voluntarily entered into the program, and by 1917, the organization was established statewide.[1]

In 2005, CIF began requiring that all student athletes sign a pledge not to take any steroids or face suspension or expulsion. This action was the first of its kind from a statewide high school athletics association in the United States.[2]


CIF holds state championships in:

CIF also hosts a State Cheerleading Championship in conjunction with the football championship.

There are also Northern California championships in tennis and girls' wrestling, and Southern California championships in boys' volleyball, girls' wrestling, and boys' and girls' soccer. There is no state championship in soccer as Southern California plays during the winter, while parts of Northern California get far too much precipitation during that time to make most outdoor sports viable.[citation needed]

Individual CIF sections also conduct championships in other sports, including:

In sports where a school has separate boys' and girls' teams, girls are not allowed on boys' teams, and boys are not allowed on girls' teams. (In sports such as baseball that do not have girls' teams, girls are allowed to play; on the other hand, in sports such as softball that do not have boys' teams, in most cases boys are not allowed to play.)

In addition, aquatics - swimming times and diving scores are compared based on final results at section meets and ranked statewide to determine a state champion; there is no state championship meet for aquatics events.


CIF offers various awards to its participants:[3]

  • Academic State Champions, given to the teams with high academic achievement
  • Model Coach Award, for coaches who are positive role models
  • Scholar-Athlete of the Year, based on academic and athletic excellence, and character
  • Spirit of Sport, based on sportsmanship, community service, and leadership



The state is broken up into ten administrative sections.[4] These sections are:

Section # Section Region Location Website # of Schools
1 Northern Section Northern Inland, north California (NE corner of state) 73
2 North Coast Section Northern Coastal regions of north California (Bay Area, north) 171
3 Sac-Joaquin Section Northern Northern San Joaquin Valley (east from Bay Area to Lake Tahoe) 174
4 San Francisco Section Northern San Francisco Unified School District 13
5 Oakland Section Northern Oakland Unified School District 20
6 Central Coast Section Northern Middle, coast region of state
Monterey County, San Benito County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz County 140
7 Central Section Southern Central and southern San Joaquin Valley 104
8 Los Angeles City Section Southern Los Angeles Unified School District (City of Los Angeles and surrounding areas) 140
9 Southern Section Southern Southern California (coastal and inland areas),
except LAUSD schools and very southern part of the State. 581
10 San Diego Section Southern San Diego and Imperial Counties (southernmost part of California). 98

Each section except for San Francisco is further subdivided into leagues. The Northern Section is divided into three conferences which in turn are divided into leagues.[5] The Southern Section is the largest by both membership and geography, covering just under one-third of the state's total area and almost half of the population base. The Southern section includes private schools in the LAUSD service area, whether inside or outside the city of Los Angeles, and the Central Coast and North Coast sections also include private schools in the cities of San Francisco and Oakland respectively. The three "City Sections" are operated by and limited to the corresponding public school systems.

The sections also serve as the qualifying entities for regional and state competitions, and may organize championships in sports not contested statewide, such as badminton, baseball, field hockey, gymnastics, lacrosse, skiing and snowboarding, soccer, softball, and water polo.

Federated Council

The organization's supreme governing body is the Federated Council. This council consists of one representative from each section, a representative from the California Department of Education, representatives from all bodies recognized as Allied Organizations by the CIF, the Council President, the President-Elect, and the immediate past President. Each representative is elected to a term of two years. The Council meets three times per year.[6]

Allied Organizations

The following groups are considered Allied Organization by CIF:[7]

  • California Department of Education
  • California School Boards Association (CSBA)
  • National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)
  • Association of California School Administrators (ACSA)
  • California State Athletic Directors Association (CSADA)
  • California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD)
  • California Coaches Association
  • Josephson Institute "Character Counts!"
  • Positive Coaching Alliance
  • Center for Sports Parenting


External links