DENIED: Rio Hondo League loses appeal to not move to Central Division …

At least the Rio Hondo League tried.

In what seemed like a real long shot move Wednesday morning, the league consisting of Blair, La Canada, Monrovia, San Marino, South Pasadena and Temple City, appealed the CIF-Southern Section’s proposed placement of the league in the Central Division on grounds that it didn’t make sense based on both geography or competitive equity.

The verdict? The nine-member Southern Section Playoff Groupings Appeals Committee voted 7-0-2 to deny the appeal and unless the league wants to try its hand with another appeal at the Southern Section Council level, area fans can expect to see the Rio Hondo League in the Central Division beginning this fall.

“I think it’s pretty tough to get an appeal approved,” Monrovia athletic director Randy Bell said following Wednesday’s decision. “It’s just the nature of the beast. They put a lot of work into figuring out what they’re doing. It’s kind of a two-pronged thing when you make your appeal.

“You have to give your data that you feel makes your appeal valid and you also have to come up with an alternative solution. The complexity of that task is just ridiculous. To come up with a solution that doesn’t knock over a bunch of dominoes and effect a bunch of others schools is really difficult.”

In addition to the Rio Hondo League, the Central Division will consist of the Hacienda, Mt. Baldy, Palomares and Sunkist leagues. Much of the reason why the entire Rio Hondo League got bumped up is because of Monrovia’s domination of the Mid-Valley Division.

The Wildcats won three consecutive Mid-Valley Division championships between 2010-12. And with San Marino having some recent success, the league looked ripe for a boost in playoff competition. Of course, had the league decided to move Monrovia out during the last re-leaguing cycle, all of this might have been avoided.

“If we’re talking hypothetically, if Monrovia was no longer in the Rio Hondo League, I think the Rio Hondo League would still be in the Mid-Valley Division,” Bell said. “But that being said, re-leaguing is a bigger deal especially for the schools and the league as a whole. And I struggle to agree with folks who say football should drive re-leaguing.

“The Rio Hondo League’s attitude is not that Monrovia needs to go. Monrovia has been the dominant team in football, but it’s South Pas in volleyball and San Marino and La Canada in swimming. You have to take everything into account.”

Bell said the Rio Hondo League’s enrollment argument centered around the fact that the Rio Hondo League’s average enrollment is 1,400 students compared to the smallest average of the other four teams in the division being 2,200.

The league also submitted average roster size for the past two years, and the Rio Hondo League average was 41 whereas the other leagues were in the 50s and 60s, according to Bell.

As for competitive equity, the Rio Hondo League argued that its 30-32 overall record against the rest of the Mid-Valley Division over the past four years shows it’s already in the right division. And if one subtracts Monrovia’s success from those numbers, the rest of the league has actually underwhelmed.

The Rio Hondo League’s alternative proposal was to move the Alpha League, now called the Gold Coast League, into the Central Division instead.

“We felt we had a pretty good enrollment and competitive equity argument, but really what CIF is looking at is the competitive equity and the top of the Rio Hondo League for the past several years has been really competitive,” Bell said. “It’s hard to say what our next move will be. I know CIF kinda hopes leagues will give it a couple years and let it play out. And if they need to make a change, they’ll make a change. We completely understand the difficulty of their job as well.”