Below is a letter that CIF-SS Commissioner Rob Wigod sent out on Thursday, March 26. Below, I will have my take.
I don’t fault the CIF-SS for exploring this option, because ultimately, the CIF-SS serves its member schools. So if member schools want it, then that’s what they’re supposed to do.
An exact proposal won’t be due until the fall, so several details aren’t available yet, but it sounds like teams could be put into playoff divisions based on their individual results, not league placement. That has already happened to some extent for basketball.
In some ways I like the idea of schools being placed into divisions based on that year’s results (and maybe recent past?), so that teams aren’t able to take advantage of a low division as a result of having poor seasons in recent years.
It’s no secret that schools are placed into leagues based primarily on football. Why were San Bernardino and Pacific shipped out of the San Andreas League and Rim of the World and Jurupa Hills brought in? Football. As a result, some schools are misplaced in leagues in sports other than football.
But I could see issues with exactly how this might work. I will admit most of the plan isn’t known, so that’s a big reason why there are more questions than answers.
But, if you put teams in playoff divisions based on their strength, could you see teams that are not putting full effort into winning games at the end of the season? What if a team, in football say, is the No. 16 team in the top division entering the season’s final week, with a playoff spot already guaranteed? What’s to prevent them from resting starters, perhaps losing that last game and dropping down to the next bracket where they could be the top seed and favorite in a lower division?
It seems possible.
And what about at-large spots? Assuming there would still be at-large spots for the playoffs, would those all go to schools in the top leagues? It seems like Jurupa Hills’ run to the 2012 CIF-SS East Valley Division semifinals from a fourth-place finish in the Mountain Valley League might be a thing of the past.
I’ll remain open-minded to the idea, but there are at least three things I don’t want to see happen: don’t devalue league play, don’t shut out the small schools and don’t make it a clear advantage to lose games late in the season.