CIF-SS Council deals blow to several Southland football powers, but that’s good news for Cathedral and St. Francis

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OFFICIAL: Catholic League
Bishop Amat, Serra, Loyola, Notre Dame, Alemany, Chaminade and Crespi
OFFICIAL: Mission League
St. Paul, St. Francis, Cathedral, Salesian, Harvard-Westlake and La Salle

LONG BEACH — The Catholic Athletic Association left the fate of two of its most important leagues in the hands of the CIF-Southern Section and when all the votes were in, several representatives from some of the Southland’s top football powers were disappointed.

The CAA saw its football-only league proposals voted in at Wednesday’s council meeting, then successfully appealed by Cathedral High School, which left one of the major goals of the association unmet. That goal was to create two, four-team leagues that will likely compete in the Pac-5 Division.

Instead, the council voted in Cathedral’s proposal that the two, four-team leagues be turned into one, seven-team league that did not include Cathedral, as originally planned. In the process, the council nixed the CAA’s major objective of securing two, four-team leagues so that it would get four guaranteed playoff spots. With a seven-team league, only three playoff spots will be guaranteed.

“The CAA voted and the final two proposals were 24-0 to have two, four-team leagues,” Chaminade athletic director Todd Borowski said. “We knew there was nothing else we could (today). There was no other appeals and you just have to go with what the council votes.

“We had our say, but apparently it wasn’t good enough. This is a great learning thing for us.”

The big winner in all of it was Cathedral, which avoided being placed in one of the two powerful four-team leagues. Another winner was St. Francis, which faced the prospect of replacing Cathedral in one of the leagues if Cathedral had argued that the Knights were a better fit.

Cathedral’s argument, though, was based on competitive equity and principal Brother John Montgomery made a compelling case that his school did not belong at the Pac-5 level. The final vote tally for Cathedral’s appeal and subsequent plan was 46 (for), 16 (against) and 12 abstentions.

“It’s hard because I feel for those guys because I know they didn’t want a seven-team league because that’s a gauntlet to go through,” St. Francis football coach Jim Bonds said. “I do think the council made the right decision today. It was in their hands and we would have had to live with whatever that decision was regardless.”

The new seven-team Catholic League, which is likely to be placed in the Pac-5 Division next month when playoff groupings are announced, consists of Alemany, Bishop Amat, Chaminade, Crespi, Loyola, Notre Dame and Serra.

The Mission League will now be Cathedral, St. Francis, Salesian, St. Paul, La Salle and Harvard-Westlake. The league configurations will start next school year and last four years.

The CAA had been to the drawing board several times trying and the one overriding theme was the desire to have two, four-team leagues. Where the CAA met trouble was in finding a suitable eighth team to round out the two-league formation.

At first, it was Salesian. But Salesian appealed and won, causing the CAA to put forth another proposal that replaced Salesian with Cathedral, which immediately said it would appeal that idea at Wednesday’s meeting.

“The council made their vote and the council does have the ability to move schools and/or leagues,” CIF-Southern Section commissioner Rob Wigod said following the meeting. “And they did. They made the move to let Cathedral go to the Mission League.

“It’s always the responsibilities of the leagues and the areas to form these leaguing configurations. If they do them and everyone is happy, we’re not here. But as you saw today, there was a school (Cathedral) who felt they were placed in appropriately.”

In other business, the council voted to support a motion that would limit the amount of practice time teams can have in a week to 18 hours in six days and no more than four hours in one day. The new rule will directly football teams who spend long days on the practice field during “hell week” in the form of two-a-day practices.

“This is a state-wide proposal and it’s been looked at by the CIF-State health advisory committee and sports medicine committee,” Wigod said. “A lot of people have said we have do something to limit the time that kids are involved in sports. It’s a health and safety issue.”

The measure will need to pass at the State Federated Council meeting to get enacted.

One motion that was overwhelmingly shot down was a measure that would have allowed athletes to play both club and high school sports at the same time while that sport is in season.