“It is a disturbing trend,” said Dave Vierra, boys’ basketball coach at Oakland Bishop O’Dowd. “Anybody who cares long term about high school sports wants equity. The solutions for the concerns are harder to find.”
When the CIF-SS playoffs started, we said our public schools didn’t have much of a chance with power private schools spread throughout the divisions, and with state playoffs using enrollment, private schools had even bigger advantages, so it’s no surprise that 75 % of the state finalists this weekend are private schools. Diamond Ranch is arguably the areas best girls basketball team, but Bishop Amat girls will play for the Division III title. Bonita and South Hills were arguably the areas best public school boys teams this season, but La Verne Lutheran will represent the SGV in the Division V state finals. Of the ten teams that qualified from Southern California, seven were private schools. The only public schools from SoCal are L.A. City’s Westchester and San Diego Lincoln boys, and the Long Beach Poly girls. In Northern California, eight of the ten finalists are private schools, meaning that 15 of the 20 finalists this weekend will be private schools. What’s wrong with that picture? When you hear public school coaches complain about the unfairness of having to compete with private schools who can draw players from anywhere, this is why.
The Solution: With five state playoff divisions, why not have three public school divisions, and two private school divisions based on enrollment. That would level the playing field considerably. If NoCal did the same, then you could have true public and private school state champions based on enrollment, which would be much fairer than what you have today.
Friday’s State Championship games in Bakersfield
Boys D-IV: St. Mary’s (Berkeley) vs. Price (Los Angeles), 1:30 pm
Girls D-IV: St. Mary’s (Berkeley) vs. Harvard-Westlake (N. Hollywood), 3:30 pm
*Girls D-II: Carondelet (Concord) vs. Mater Dei (Santa Ana), 6:00 pm*
*Boys D-II: St. Francis (Mtn. View) vs. Lincoln (San Diego), 8:00 pm*
Saturday’s State championships in Bakersfield.
Girls D-V: Pinewood (Los Altos Hills) vs. St. Anthony (Long Beach), 9:30 am
Boys D-V: Branson (Ross) vs. La Verne. Lutheran, 11:30 am
Girls D-III: St. Mary’s (Stockton) vs. Bishop Amat, 1:30 pm
Boys D-III: Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) vs. Serra (Gardena), 3:30 pm
*Girls D-I: Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) vs. Poly (Long Beach), 6:00 pm*
*Boys D-I: Newark Memorial vs. Westchester (Los Angeles), 8:00 pm*