CIF football playoff groupings finalized
LONG BEACH – The Sunset League will move to the Southwest Division for football playoffs, and the Pacific Coast League remains in the Southern Division for football playoffs, it was resolved Wednesday at the CIF-Southern Section Council meeting.
That the Sunset League would move from the Pac-5 Division to the Southwest for football, and the Pacific Coast League would still be in the Southern Division for football, were parts of an original plan for football playoff divisions for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.
Most of the leagues in the Southwest League appealed the placement of the Sunset League before an appeals panel weeks ago, but those appeals were denied.
The Golden West League had appealed the continuation of the Pacific Coast League in the Southern Division, an appeal that was upheld with the result also including the Pacific Coast League's move to the Southwest Division for football playoffs.
Wednesday's meeting of the Council, the rules-making body of the CIF-Southern Section, at the Grand was the final opportunity for appeals. The Pacific Coast League, led by University principal John Pehrson and athletic director/football coach Mark Cunningham, appealed its move to the Southwest Division and won. So the PCL — that includes Beckman, Corona del Mar, Irvine, Northwood, University and Woodbridge — remains in the Southern Division for the next two football seasons.
The Century and Empire leagues' final appeals of the Sunset's move to the Southwest Division were denied, with the Empire appeal being tossed out before it went to a vote because its appeal was evaluated to be out of order and not in keeping with playoff-groupings procedure.
The Sunset League comprises Edison, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Marina and Newport Harbor. It will be replaced in the Pac-5 Division by the San Fernando Valley/Ventura County-based Marmonte League. The Marmonte — which for football includes St. Bonaventure of Ventura, Westlake and Oaks Christian of Westlake Village — appealed its placement in the Pac-5 Division but that appeal was denied.
Newport Harbor football coach Jeff Brinkley said the move of the Sunset League is fair.
"Our league has struggled in the Pac-5 playoffs the last few years," he said. "Now, the enrollments match up better, for Newport Harbor, anyway, and geographically it's a good thing."
Brinkley does not believe the contention of the Century, Empire and other Southwest leagues that the Sunset teams will dominate Southwest Division in football.
"People sometimes don't realize how good those teams really are," Brinkley said. "Tustin and La Habra are very strong. We've played Villa Park before, so we know there's good competition there, too."
Foothill football coach Doug Case, whose team plays in the Southwest Division's Century League, had mixed feelings on the Council results.
"I think the Pacific Coast League was going to be a better fit, enrollment-wise and for the number of good athletes they have in those schools," Case said. "But the Sunset League brings everyone a good challenge throughout the Southwest Division. We'll just have to get kids ready for the challenge and get after it."
Segerstrom football coach Mike Maceranka was unhappy that the Pacific Coast League will remain in the Southern Division with the Garden Grove, Golden West (including Segerstrom), Orange and Orange Coast leagues.
"It's frustrating," Maceranka said. "We went through the appeals process, the appeals panel agreed with us and today we had no opportunity to tell our side of the story. All they got to hear at that meeting was University's side."
Also Wednesday, the Council — representing the CIF-Southern Section's 86 leagues — voted by a 41-40 margin with five absent leagues to support a CIF State proposal by which student-athletes who transfer without making a change of residence would have to sit out only the first 30 days of the athlete's season of sport instead of sitting out one year. The CIF-SS representative at the May 4-5 CIF State Federated Council meeting thus must vote to approve that proposal. The Southern Section is one of 10 sections within CIF.
The CIF-SS Council also voted to support a CIF State proposal that would create an open division for boys and girls basketball at the CIF State Championships. The open division would include what a selection committed evaluates to be the best teams, regardless of enrollment or section division.
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