August 30, 2012
Transfers, open division basketball among hot section topics

Sac-Joaquin Section Commissioner Pete Saco, Assistant Commissioner John Williams and Director of Communications Will DeBoard met with reporters today in Lodi to discuss playoff changes, trends, transfers and more for 2012-2013.
Here are some highlights:

FOOTBALL
The section's Division III football playoffs that included section champion and CIF State Bowl participant Del Oro netted the most postseason money for the section in 2011-2012. D-III brought in $122,952, more than $4,000 higher than D-II ($118,555) and $30,000 better than D-I ($92,415). The D-II playoffs were the big money makers in 2010-11 ($168,356) and 2009-2010 ($148,588) while D-I ($169,618) was the overwhelming leader in 2008-2009. The section netted $803,550 from all its playoff sports. Football ($433,828) accounted for more than half the revenue.

• The Sac-Joaquin Section's Division I and Division II football champions will play in the first-ever CIF Northern California Regional, either in the Open Division or the D-I North final.

• Because the Sierra Foothill League is now D-I, traditional D-III school Del Oro will play in the D-II postseason, should it qualify.

• The D-I and D-II section championship games and, possibly D-III, will be at held Sacramento State for the next three years. Saco says the facility is preferable to Hughes Stadium at this time because of field security issues.

TRANSFERS
The CIF has gone to a much debated 30-day sit out rule that many say will open the floodgates to transfers.

But so far, DeBoard reports, the number of transfer requests have remained about the same. In August of last year, DeBoard said there were 528 transfer requests. As of today, there have been 524 for this month.

Those athletes who played a fall sport last season and have transferred schools without changing residence or receiving a hardship waiver will have to sit 30 days before they are eligible to play. Saco said even though the old rule was tougher, top players knew how to circumvent the rule. "It's the minnows that were getting caught," Saco said.

So far the section has ruled that 53 athletes who have transferred must sit out 30 days before becoming eligible. There have been six transfer denials and 45 granted limited eligibility.

Saco said the section will remain vigilant in enforcing undue influence cases, including athletes who may follow a coach to a new school.

"I'll still have my share of appeals," Saco said.

REALIGNMENT AND ENROLLMENT
On the "unprecedented" decision to move the Sierra Foothill League from D-II to D-I and the Solano County Athletic League from D-III to D-II this season to improve competitive balance: "It creates a little more competition in D-I," DeBoard said. "But we had to do something with Rodriguez in the SCAL being at 2,000 students and playing the (Pioneer Valley League) that has schools with less than 1,000. We feel that was the right call. Some aren't thrilled, but they understand it." Rodriguez is being moved from the SCAL to the Monticello Empire League. Its spot in the SCAL will be taken by Fairfield.

• The largest enrollment school in the section this year is Davis at 3,181 students. This number includes junior high ninth graders who can play on Davis teams. Davis has only sophomores, juniors and seniors at its school. Franklin of Elk Grove is the section's second largest school with 2,816 students. McClatchy is the area's third largest and section's sixth overall with 2,501 students. Inderkum, which has dropped 350 district charter school students, will be D-III in football this season with 1,561 students after playing in D-II the previous two years.

• Hearings regarding school and league realignment for the start of the 2014-2015 school year will be held Jan. 8, Jan. 29, Feb. 19 and March 12. An if-necessary meeting also is set for April 9. The meetings will be open to the public.

BASKETBALL
• There could be as few as six teams and as many as eight teams for the new CIF NorCal and SoCal Open Division girls and boys basketball playoffs. "I think it will create new blood and, hopefully, bring more people to the (playoff) table," Saco said.

• Two-person crews will officiate all section boys and girls basketball playoff games, including games played at neutral sites.

• If a team wins at least 15 power-rated games and does not qualify for the postseason by the power rating system, that team will be added to the tournament.

SOCCER
The top three teams (five-team leagues qualify two) from each league will qualify for the playoffs like last year but will be placed into divisional brackets by enrollment. It's possible that perennial D-I power Jesuit could play in D-II in this season's boys playoffs, should the Marauders qualify.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
The power rating system is out. Instead, the top three teams in each league qualify for the playoffs. If a league has fewer than six teams, then two schools qualify. All other teams with a .500 league record or better also will qualify. Teams will be placed into divisions by enrollment size.



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Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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