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California Interscholastic Federation
Abbreviation CIF
Motto "Dedicated to developing student-athletes of character"
Formation 1914
Type NPO
Legal status Association
Purpose/focus Athletic/Educational
Headquarters 1320 Harbor Bay Parkway, Suite 140
Alameda, CA 94502
Region served California
Official languages English
Executive Director Marie M. Ishida
Affiliations National Federation of State High School Associations
Staff 14

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) is the governing body for high school sports in the state of California. It mirrors similar governing bodies in other states; however, it differs from others in that it covers most high schools in the state of California, both public and private. Few exceptions exist; five California high schools compete in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association [1] instead, due to their proximity to Nevada and the difficulty they face in traveling to other California schools. CIF is a non-profit corporation. It is based in Alameda, California.



The CIF was founded in Los Angeles, California 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 required that all student athletes sign a promise to not take any steroids or they face expulsion.


CIF holds sectional championship events in the sports of American football, basketball, cross country (traditionally hosted at Woodward Park in Fresno), golf, track and field, girls volleyball, water polo, and wrestling.[2] In addition, swimming times and diving scores are compared based on final results at section meets and ranked statewide to determine a state champion. However, there is no state championship meet.

Cross country, track and field, basketball, volleyball and wrestling hold state-wide championships.


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




For CIF administrative purposes, the state is broken up into ten sections.[4] These sections are:

  • Northern Region
  1. CIF Northern Section, covering the Northern inland section of the state.
  2. CIF North Coast Section[2], covering the northwestern and eastern portions of the San Francisco Bay Area and the coastal regions in the north.
  3. CIF Sac-Joaquin Section [3], covering the northeastern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area, the city of Sacramento, and the northern portion of the San Joaquin Valley.
  4. CIF San Francisco Section, covering public schools in the city of San Francisco.
  5. CIF Oakland Section, covering public schools in the city of Oakland.
  6. CIF Central Coast Section, covering the western and southern portions of the San Francisco Bay Area, the Monterey Bay Area, and inland to King City.
  • Southern Region
  1. CIF Central Section, covering the central and southern San Joaquin Valley.
  2. CIF Los Angeles City Section, covering public schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), which covers almost all of the city of Los Angeles plus some nearby communities outside the city.
  3. CIF Southern Section, covering the suburbs of Los Angeles, Orange County, central Coastal region of the state, the inland southern portion of the state, as well as most of the Sierra Nevada.
  4. CIF San Diego Section, covering San Diego County.

These sections (except Oakland and San Francisco) are further subdivided into leagues. The Southern Section is geographically the largest, covering approximately one-fourth to one-third of the state's total area. (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 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[5].

Allied Organizations

The following groups have Allied Organization status within the CIF [6]:

  • California Coaches Association
  • California State Athletic Directors Association
  • California School Boards Association
  • Association of California School Administrators
  • California Association of Private School Organizations
  • California Superintendents Liaison Committee
  • California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance
  • California Association of Directors of Activities


External links


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