By BILL TAMBURRINO
Some changes need to be made in high school sports. There are 10 CIF sections and all of those sections have to follow the same rules during the season and during the off season, especially when it comes to divisions in state and CIF playoffs.
In San Diego an attempt has been made in several sports to make the playoffs more equitable (or profitable). That is a great idea! But why just in the playoffs? Last season an Open Division was added to the CIFSD section and teams were placed in divisions based on past performances. That hurt the San Diego Section when it got to the state playoffs and will continue to do so.
There are too many teams in the playoffs. Only league champions and teams with winning records should be in the playoffs. The playoffs should be an eight-team bracket like the Open Division was in San Diego this year. Then the finals could be played on a Monday in Qualcomm and no team would have less than a week to prepare for the biggest game in most of the student/athletes’ lives.
When we bounce teams up a division in the San Diego Section for the playoffs, that hurts their chances of going to the state playoffs in the division in which they really belong. One team sued last season because it was forced to play above its real state division level. More will come. We are the Sue-nited States.
Ramona is not a Division I team by state standards. Just because Ramona has a good team or season it should not be forced to play up a division. Instead of rewarding excellence we are, in fact, punishing it.
The Southern Section has more schools and places those schools in leagues that are fair. Every division has three leagues, and three teams from two leagues and two teams from one league go to the playoffs. San Diego did that in the past. With league standings determining the playoffs, teams would play practice games to get ready for league play. There was no hurry. Now some teams try to get patsies on their schedule to build up rankings, or the really good teams play good competition to make money at the gate. The North County Conference dictates cross-league opponents in order to keep gate money in the North County.
The conferences have to be changed or done away with all together. Leagues have to be made fair. That can’t be done as long as the Grossmont, North County, South Bay and San Diego conferences exist in their present form. I crunched the numbers. What the Southern Section does would work in San Diego on a smaller scale.
One of the major reasons for the present divisions in San Diego is nobody knows what to do with the private schools. Enrollment is not a fair criterion. If a private school draws from more than one school district they have an advantage over a school like Ramona. Come up with a formula that places private schools in a league where they belong. Cathedral Catholic has an excellent athletic program. They are an elite athletic department. The Rock Academy and San Diego Jewish Academy are not.
Basketball has to make some changes. What used to be tournaments have become classics and shootouts in order to play more games. It used to be that tournaments were double elimination or single elimination and they counted as 2 points in scheduling. At one time every team was allowed 20 points. Some genius came up with the idea of having a round robin tournament with pool play, and then elimination in some cases. In other words, teams get six or eight games for 2 points. In a time of trimming budgets, trimming transportation, high gas prices and, worst of all, student/athletes driving to and from games, more home games are needed.
Ramona High’s Bulldog basketball team just played its first home game last Friday. It was a 4:30 p.m. game to boot. The Lady Bulldogs have played 15 games and only four home games. Give every team more points and count tournament points by how many games teams are guaranteed. More home games mean more gate, less travel, fewer morning and day games, less time on the road and more time to study. Working parents would get to see more games and support their child’s team instead of a tournament host.
Happy New Year!