New format will change the face of CIF playoffs for San Diego schools
by Scott Hopkins
Feb 28, 2013 | 3219 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
La Jolla High's Emila Kuo during the Viking’s CIF Division II victory over Canyon Crest in the Girls’ Tennis Championships held at Barnes Tennis Center last October. Photo by DON BALCH
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For 52 years, San Diego high schools have been divided into competitive divisions for playoffs, based strictly on campus enrollment.

Those days largely came to an end in January when the local section of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Board of Managers ap-proved a dramatically different format for seven team sports.

Beginning with some fall sports, a mathematical formula using state rankings, playoff appearances and opponents’ records will be used to assign each school to a division for playoff purposes only.

The formula looks at a school’s performance over the previous five years, placing greater weight on the most recent years.

At the top of each sport will be an “Open Division” composed of the top eight teams in the section in a given sport. All eight will enter the playoffs to determine a champion.

The next four divisions (I, II, III, IV) ranked similarly, will send the top 12 teams into playoff action, while

Div. V will send eight teams.

Open division winners will be designated as section champions, while others will be crowned as division winners.

The new plan took 18 months to fine-tune and coincides with the hiring of Jerry Schniepp as the section’s fifth commissioner.

“This is the right thing for the section,” Schniepp said later. “I think after the [board] vote, a vast majority see it as a good thing, too.”

Under the newly adopted plan, baseball programs and boys’ and girls’ lacrosse will begin the new system this spring. Football and girls’ volleyball will join in the fall, with boys’ and girls’ basketball added next winter.

Other team sports (boys’ and girls’ soccer, field hockey and boys’ and girls’ water polo) may be included in the new system in the future if a ranking system can be agreed upon. Until then, these sports will remain in enrollment-driven divisions.

And sports that emphasize individual ability of both boys and girls (cross country, water polo, track and field, golf, tennis, swimming and gymnastics and wrestling) will also remain in divisions based on enrollment.
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