St. Francis might be movin’ on up if it’s left to the CIF-Southern Section council …

There’s a vibe out there among those who closely follow the Catholic Athletic Association’s high school football re-leaguing process that one more twist or turn is coming.

It’s the same vibe that one might get while watching a cinematic thriller that fools you into thinking the ending is obvious before one final act shatters all preconceived notions and leaves the audience with its mouth open.

In theory, the final act to this saga should have already been played out when the CAA met on Tuesday and in a close vote put forth its latest and final proposal for league alignments that would span the next four years.

On April 30, the CIF-Southern Section council will meet to ratify the new leagues and move forward in the process of cementing things so that the next order of business — the new playoff groupings proposals — can take place in May.

One problem, though. Cathedral High School is going to appeal the CAA’s league proposal. Big deal, you say. Appeals rarely win, right? And how can one win an appeal on the very deadline day that everything needs to be finalized?

Well, this is where the aforementioned final twist will take place. In the eyes of this reporter, Cathedral stands a very good chance to win its appeal and if I were St. Francis, I would be getting my argument against joining the Pac-5 Division ready because you’re likely to need it.

At issue is Cathedral’s placement in what’s being called the Catholic South League along with Bishop Amat, Loyola and Serra. The Phantoms don’t feel they belong at the Pac-5 level. It’s the same argument Salesian recently made in its successful appeal, which led to this latest proposal.

Basically, the CAA’s solution was to swap Salesian for Cathedral. That’s not going to work either. At least it shouldn’t. No matter how one feels about how Cathedral and Salesian do business, it’s hard to make an argument that either is more Pac-5 ready than St. Francis.

How St. Francis has avoided being fingered as the team that should be moving up to fill the final spot in the Catholic South League is a total mystery. Personally, I don’t think that any of the trio of Cathedral, Salesian and St. Francis belong in the Pac-5. But if somebody’s gotta do it, the numbers don’t lie and it should be St. Francis.

The Knights are 3-1 against Cathedral over the past four years and the lone loss was by two points. The Knights have finished above Cathedral in the Mission League in three of the past four years.

Some will argue that Cathedral, with its penchant for attracting transfers and supposed craftiness in helping with the financial burden of attending a private school, is better equipped to handle the leap than St. Francis, which is expensive, doesn’t offer much in terms of aid and rarely gets transfers.

While there may be a lot of truth to that, the problem for St. Francis is that it will get laughed off the stage if it tries to use that argument before the council. The main thing that will be considered is competitive equity and Cathedral has a heck of a case if it goes that route and suggests St. Francis be the program to round out the Catholic South.

What high school football fans are witnessing here is actually a microcosm of one of the major plagues of the CAA. So many of the schools in the group frown upon the others for the way they do business.

While some athletic programs abstain from playing the recruiting/athletic scholarship game and ultimately pay the price in terms of wins and losses, others are consistently accused of recruiting or luring top talent, some of which is in the form of transfers. Those schools are the ones winning championships. Ain’t that right, St. John Bosco?

It’s quite the contradiction. Behind closed doors and under their breath, certain CAA schools often entertain the idea and bounce around the concept of starting their own entity separate from CIF. We’ve all heard it at some point.

But how can that happen if nobody can seem to agree on the proper way to do business? How can that happen if you base league placements on which schools play the recruiting game better? How can that happen if there’s contradiction all over the place?

From Damien and St. Bonaventure’s arbitration hearing win and subsequent exclusion from the parochial area to Cathedral and Salesian claiming they can’t be in the same league as each other to now St. Francis being shielded from being the obvious team to round out a league, it’s been a fiasco of a year for the Catholic parochial schools.

One of several things can happen at the council meeting on April 30. Cathedral could lose its appeal and further drama will be avoided. But if the Phantoms win, then there’s a live chance that the council will decide the fate of the CAA leagues.

It’s never good to leave your fate in somebody else’s hands. It’s never a good feeling to let somebody do your thinking for you. But that’s exactly what might happen and probably should at this point.

This council meeting is supposed to be for the simple process of ratifying league proposals that are well thought out and not contradictory. Instead, you can bet there will be fireworks and probably one final twist.

  • reality

    Aram you state that Cathedral gets alot of transfers and basically pays for them with reduced or no cost tuitions and stuff.Meanwhile St. Francis gives zippo. Therefore if anybody gets shafted it should be Cathedral. Right? I guess my question is how do you know? Are these give aways transparent or is it just common knowledge by the in crowd. I would love to see a real open book of these perks and transfers by not just the privates but all schools. Why not? That would really help place teams in the right league. If Charter Oak and Upland both have alot of transfers and kids living out of the district put em in the same league. If Cathedral is buying players make em pay. If Arroyo and Bonita play with home grown talent year in year out that would be nice to know for a fact to.

    • sir lancelot

      Come on buddy, it’s been known that cathedral does this. I know several students that have benefit out of free or low cost tuition. Pearson himself does all the recruiting from the west side. Like I said it’s well known and I hope cathedral doesn’t win their appeal and gets what they deserve.

      • no-step

        Hey…lancelot. Amat does it, too! Has been for DECADES!

    • AramT

      Please note the language I used. “Supposed” … leaves some room for doubt and doesn’t express complete certainty. But you can ask around and see what you hear.

    • Not Since 1995

      I just wish they will get this all sorted out already so we can see who AMAT will be playing this year.

    • Mean Joe Green

      Why is everyone acting like powerhouse parochial football programs don’t all do it? Yes, even Bishop Amat. This should not be a surprise to anyone. This is simple football 101.

      • no-step

        No, not everybody does it.

        • Mean Joe Green

          No-Step, I was over generalizing. I am sure there are some programs that don’t. However, the amount that do not give free or low cost tuition is so nominal its not worth mentioning. The issue at hand is not the financial aid. I believe financial assistance to socio-economically disadvantaged students is a positive thing. The real issue is the disproportionate amount of aid given to athletes as opposed to other students in need. Is there equal penetration into low-income communities for scholars?

          • AramT

            This is what I’m talking about. There’s no uniformity among the CAA schools. So you’ll have the Amats and St. Francis of the world always looking up at a St. John Bosco saying “we could never be that, because we don’t do that” … odds are you’re not gonna beat a SJB or Mater Dei unless you play the game how it’s played these days.

          • no-step

            For years, the whispers around the valley from coaches “in the know” was that “Amat has the best team money can buy”.

  • BSMet94 .

    If you were St. Francis… now that conjures up an image! But then again, why not try your luck. You may discover that you’re better as a friar than as a writer.

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