Column: Releaguing for all the wrong reasons

Fred J. Robledo
Charter Oak, Glendora, Rowland and South Hills high schools filed appeals with the CIF-Southern Section after 42 high school principals from the Mt. SAC area voted on new league alignments that would take effect in the fall of 2010. The appeals will be heard on Wednesday, with the CIF-SS issuing a release asking that: the appeal should address any or all of the three criteria — geography, enrollment or competitive equity, with the appealing school showing how any or all of the criteria were not addressed in their placement. To continue reading, click thread

All four schools have legitimate gripes. Principals are sometimes like politicians, voting along party lines, which seems to be the case here.
South Hills was moved from the San Antonio League to the more difficult Sierra League for no other reason than the Huskies have a winning football tradition. The Huskies’ success irks area folks who whine that they get too many transfers but forget they have a pretty good coaching staff, too.
You can argue it’s not about football, but you would have a hard time convincing anyone that geography and enrollment were factored into the decision. Especially when West Covina is down the street and has 2,878 students while South Hills has 2,075.
Principals apparently didn’t consider the financial costs of other varsity sports and lower-level teams at South Hills having to travel to Claremont, Chino Hills and Ayala. Nor did they consider that sports at South Hills other than football are comparable to other area teams.
Charter Oak joins South Hills, getting bumped from the Miramonte League to the Sierra League for no other reason than they have a CIF-SS championship football team.
The Chargers might have a respectable baseball team, but every other sport is average by comparison. Charter Oak will be the only public school in the Sierra League with less than 2,000 students.
If Los Altos was still winning football titles and Greg Gano was still in charge, they would undoubtedly have been bumped up too instead of remaining in the Miramonte/San Antonio league.
This isn’t about geography or enrollment. This is about personal agendas and using “competitive equity” as an excuse to stick it to football programs that have a tradition of success, plain and simple.
Isn’t that the easy way out? Instead of welcoming the challenge of taking on the area’s best football programs, it seems that area schools would prefer that Charter Oak and South Hills get bumped up so much they can’t compete for league and CIF championships anymore.
Isn’t that convenient. If you can’t beat them, make someone else do it.
What happens if they keep winning? Do you bump them up to the Serra League to take on Bishop Amat? When does it end?
Instead of whining about the football success at Charter Oak and South Hills, why not get better and do something about it, like West Covina football has done in recent years? Or like what Diamond Ranch football is doing now.
And just when West Covina and Diamond Ranch appear to be at or near that consistent level of Charter Oak and South Hills football, sadly you won’t see a Diamond Ranch-Charter Oak league game in 2010. You won’t see a West Covina-South Hills league game in 2010.
Isn’t that ridiculous? You will watch future classics between South Hills and Charter Oak in the Sierra League, but don’t you find it strange that all other league games for Charter Oak and South Hills will come against teams from the Inland Empire, or Damien, a private school?
It’s even harder to rationalize making sense of moving Glendora from the Sierra League to the Baseline League, where the Tartans will join Alta Loma, Etiwanda, Los Osos, Upland and Rancho Cucamonga, all of whom have school populations near or above 3,000 students, while Glendora has a population of 2,483.
Yet, Chino Hills, Ayala and Claremont, all schools closer in proximity to Baseline teams than Glendora, will be in the Sierra League. At a time when schools in California are struggling financially and teachers are getting pink slips, why would you vote for a proposal that doesn’t make any financial sense from a travel-cost perspective? Was geography even considered?
It’s about football, and in Glendora’s case, maybe basketball, too. Is anyone really that excited about a South Hills- Chino Hills football game? Or Charter Oak against Ayala? Glendora and Los Osos? Those are great nonleague and CIF playoff games, but the No. 1 criteria for a league should be geography, followed by enrollment, with competitive equity a distant third.
So what if Glendora, Charter Oak and South Hills dominate in football. The answer to that is get better.
The area deserves to watch the best teams make deep playoff runs. They don’t want super leagues consisting of schools miles apart that beat each other up so much that the area’s best teams miss the playoffs. Or maybe that’s what schools around here want, for the Charter Oaks, Glendoras and South Hills’ of the Valley to go away and get eliminated so quick that they can finally have the stage all to themselves.
If these appeals are denied, that’s exactly what will happen.
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