I spoke with Azusa High AD Sandy Gahring while covering a softball game Thursday about Tuesday’s appeals. Gahring said if the Montview is forced to move to the Northwest, she is not sure if the school will be able to afford transportation for potential playoff games at schools like Fillmore or Nordoff (Ojai) — from the Tri Valley League — given next year’s school budget. Gahring’s other concern was the gate for home games. She said with the Mid-Valley Division comprised of area teams, it not only makes travel easier, but it increases gate revenue for home playoff games because of the easy travel for visiting area teams. I’m in total agreement with Gahring. Forget the fact the Montview is moving into a tougher division after struggling to compete in its previous division, now you’re going to ask the schools to fork out a lot more money for travel and lose a lot more money in gate revenue. Forget competitive equity for a minute, but shouldn’t the financial costs and the burden it will place on the schools take precedent given the financial situation public schools are in? Geographic proximity, more than ever, should be the most important factor CIF considers when making these decisions. It should be the most important factor in re-leaguing as well. My biggest beef when Glendora was moved to the Baseline was the travel. You’re moving a public school into a league where it’s closest league foe is Los Osos! That’s ridiculous. These aren’t club programs, these are public high schools. As it is, Glendora can’t afford an on campus football coach. You move Charter Oak and South Hills into the Sierra for league games against Claremont, Chino Hills and Ayala when you have other high schools like Covina, Northview, West Covina, San Dimas and others just a few miles from each other which would cut travel costs down dramatically, while also giving athletes that extra hour or two for homework with league games much closer to home. I’m all for competitive equity, but the price the school’s are paying in travel at a time when school’s are forced to cut so many costs makes no sense at all.
By Aram Tolegian
A CIF-Southern Section playoff grouping appeals committee on Tuesday rejected the Montview League’s appeal of Assistant Commissioner Glenn Martinez’s proposed playoff grouping that would move the league out of the Mid-Valley Division and into the Northwest Division.
The league, represented by Workman High School assistant principal Scott Cavanias, athletic director Victor Perdomo and varsity football head coach Scott Morrison, argued a move out of the Mid-Valley Division and into the Northwest Division did not make sense on grounds of competitive equity, enrollment and geography.
The playoff groupings appeals committee, however, stood by Martinez’s proposal to move the Montview League to the Northwest Division to give it relief after the league posted just one playoff win in the past two seasons. The Southern Section reviews its playoff groupings every two years and bases its proposals on the past two year’s results. The current proposals would go into effect this fall.
“We thought what we presented was a better fit,” Perdomo said. “We got shot down, but they heard us.”
The league can appeal Tuesday’s decision at the April 25 Southern Section council meeting, where new groupings will be ratified.
Perdomo said he was unsure if the league would appeal again at the meeting and the next step will be to find out what the league’s coaches and principals want to do in the wake of Tuesday’s denial.
“The principals would have to vote on it, and at this point I don’t know if that’s something they want to do or if they’re ready to pick up the fight,” Perdomo said. “I don’t know how passionate they are about this. I guess we’ll find out when I get back to school tomorrow.”
The Tribune also learned the Mission Valley League is scheduled to appeal the new Mid-Valley Division proposal in another appeals hearing on April 4. The league will be represented by El Monte principal Keith Richardson and, like the Montview League, will argue to keep the division as is.
Unlike the Montview League, the Mission Valley League would be staying in the Mid-Valley Division under the new proposal. But the league would face increased competition in the new-look division with the addition of the Alpha League and the omission of the Montview and Olympic leagues.
The prospect of playing in such a division has caused the Mission Valley League to state it will request to be moved along with the Montview and Olympic leagues to the Northwest Division on the grounds of competitive equity should CIF decide to move forward with the new proposal. The Mission Valley League has two playoffs wins in the past two seasons.
Tuesday’s denial, though, has Arroyo football coach Jim Singiser thinking his league may need to reconsider whether it wants to go forward with its appeal hearing.
“We wanted to keep it the way it was, but now that it’s not an option, we need to ask the (league’s) football coaches, `How strongly do you feel about wanting to stay in the division?’ ” Singiser said.
The Mid-Valley Division currently is made up of the Almont, Mission Valley, Montview, Olympic, Rio Hondo and Valle Vista leagues. Its appeal to local coaches is five of the six leagues are located in the San Gabriel Valley. The sixth, the Olympic League, has just three schools that would represent any significant travel if a Valley team was to play them in the postseason.
If the Montview League does land in the Northwest Division, its teams could be faced with having to travel to Ojai or San Pedro for playoff games.
Conversely, road games against Alpha League teams would possibly mean traveling as far away as Lancaster or Malibu for teams in leagues that remained in the new-look Mid-Valley Division. That’s a major reason why representatives from both the Montview and Mission Valley leagues argue it would be better to keep the division as is.
Monrovia has won the Mid-Valley Division the past two seasons. It’s victories in the last two championship games by a combined score of 91-22 have faced CIF with the conundrum of either moving the Wildcats and the rest of the Rio Hondo League out of the division or keeping the league in the division while beefing up the competition.
“I hate to move a league,” Martinez said earlier this month when his proposals were released. “I almost feel like I’m punishing five or six schools because of one team’s tremendous success. When you move a league up just because of one particular school, it’s just kind of hurting everyone and I don’t think that’s fair.”
Adding the Alpha League would certainly increase the competition at the very top of the Mid-Valley Division. The seven-school Alpha League is headlined by Sierra Canyon, which went 15-0 in 2011 and won the CIF State Championship Bowl Game in Division IV. The league is also home to past Mid-Valley Division champion Paraclete, which went 11-3 last season.