As first reported last week by various media outlets, the California Interscholastic Federation’s Federated Council approved three proposals that will not only have a significant impact on high school sports in San Francisco, but in the entire state.
Here is a rundown of the three changes and how they affect San Francisco specifically.
Open Division basketball
For both boys’ and girls’ basketball, the CIF approved the addition of a sixth division beginning next season.
The new Open Division can be composed of teams from any division and teams can opt in or be pushed up unwillingly.
According to a report by the Bay Area News Group, the Open Division selections will be determined after the section championships, no more than four teams from any section can be selected and the teams must meet at least one of a set of four criteria, listed below.
The reasoning for the CIF adding the division is assumed to be due to recent private-school dominance in the basketball state championships and a desire to pair the two best teams, across all divisions, in the Open Division championship games.
The San Francisco team from last season that fits these descriptions most would be the Sacred Heart Cathedral boys’ team, which lost to Bishop Alemany of Mission Hills in the Division III state championship game. The Irish have won four consecutive CCS D-III titles and have enteredthe NorCal tournament in each of those years.
While Sacred Heart coach Darrell Barbour, who previously coached at Woodside, a public school, admitted he preferred the old system, he also expressed ambivalence about the new system.
“I’m not going to lose any sleep over it,” Barbour said. “Things that I can’t control I don’t worry about. They didn’t ask for my vote or my opinion. I had no voice in it.”
New transfer rules
Beginning next season, transfer students at any stage of their high school careers will now be required to sit out 30 days before they can participate in varsity competition for their new school.
Prior to this ruling, the CIF rules required any student that transferred after their freshman year to sit out of varsity competition for a full year. Transfers prior to the end of their freshman year did not have to sit out any time.
Mission basketball coach Arnold Zelaya, who has a track record of suiting up transfer students from city Catholic schools, is in full support of getting student-athletes eligible to play as soon as possible.
“I think that sports is such a positive thing for kids, especially in the inner city” Zelaya said. “Kids transfer for a variety of reasons, but I’m all for them playing as soon as possible. However, like any rules, people can take advantage of them. Hopefully that won’t happen under the new rules.”
NorCal boys’ volleyball tournament
Boys’ volleyball isn’t necessarily considered a marquee spring sport, but now it has a leg up on traditionally dominant seasonal sports like baseball and softball.
Beginning next season, the best teams in each Northern California section will participate in a NorCal regional championship, which Southern California already has.