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It’s official: OAL won’t join NCS

By Jimmy Durkin
Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 at 9:40 pm in Uncategorized.

I just got a quick phone call from Oakland Athletic League/Section commissioner Michael Moore Sr. to inform me that all recommendations passed unanimously at today’s Oakland Board of Education meeting, meaning that the OAL will continue as its own section of the CIF and do a number of other things to improve itself.

Here is the link to the resolution that was passed.

Also, here’s the link to the recommendation that Commissioner Moore presented the first public hearing in August about the OAL remaining its own section and then the one he presented at last week’s public hearing that has details on how to improve the section, which was met with approval and then turned into the resolution that was passed tonight.

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  • http://BOD Coach

    terrible decision OAL. Step into reality.

  • epcthree

    While I would have preferred to see the OAL choose to join the NCS, I’m at a loss to see why it is a terrible decision.

    As their own CIF section, they have greater control of decisions that directly effect their schools/league. After all of the consternation surrounding De La Salle and NCS league reorganizations, I can understand their decision to remain a “free agent.”

    Frankly, as I write this, I can’t really think of an advantage to the OAL joining the NCS. they are already part of the CIF, why would joining the NCS be something they need to do. It may make things more convenient for other schools, but I’m not sure that it would make things more convenient for the OAL.

    Just curious what the advantage is for OAL schools to join the NCS.

  • EBAL FAN

    There are many advantages for the OAL to join the NCS.

    First and foremost, they would qualiify more kids to events like state track. Now they send one rep, or more if they hit automatic qualifying times. But if they were part of NCS, perhaps the NCS would be allowed to qualify 5-6 athletes to state, thus allowing even more kids to go.

    As for losing their automatic berth straight into NorCal in basketball, perhaps they would have a chance to get more than one school into the tournament. I am assuming the schools in the OAL are varying sizes. If they were in NCS, they would be playing in different divisions according to school size. Perhaps we would see 2-3 OAL teams in the NorCal tournament as opposed to 1-2.

    As for NorCal golf, volleyball and state wrestling, it would improve the quality of the respective tournaments. be honest, there not have been many OAL reps for those sports which actually belonged in NorCal or State wrestling. It would help weed out the athletes who don’t belong there and perhaps give more room to more deserving athletes. Those OAL athletes who are good enough to advance to those tournaments, would still have a chance to qualify.

    As for football, no one outside of Oakland cares about the Silver Bowl. Playing for an NCS title would give the OAL kids an even greater chance for recognition, once again playing against schools of similar size. Let the league champion of the OAL still claim the Silver Bowl, but the NCS title and maybe state, would be the ultimate goal.

    Just a poor decision by the OAL, once again not showing the ability to think outside the box.

  • http://ibabuzz.com/prepcorner Jimmy Durkin

    Some of your points are valid, EBAL Fan, but in the end I disagree that it’s a poor decision. Sure, in track they might have the opportunity to send a few more, but having that qualifying time now allows multiple athletes to go in one event and if they aren’t hitting that qualifying time, they probably shouldn’t be at state anyway.

    The one thing you said that I agree with (somewhat) is the extra basketball teams competing for state titles. Last year, I believe Oakland would have been a Division II school in NCS and, given the fact they nearly beat De La Salle to go to the NorCal title game in Division I, they would’ve probably made it to the Division II NorCal finals at least and played Mitty. Mack — the state champs — would’ve been in Division IV, probably played and beat St. Mary’s in the NorCal title game and then faced Campbell Hall in the state title game. Fremont would’ve been a Division III school and had a shot to advance through NCS there too. But the hard part would be the travel costs associated with these playoff games — money the OAL doesn’t have. And, quite frankly, a team like Mack doesn’t want to play Division IV. They’re good enough to play Division I — 32-0 is evidence enough — and that’s where they should play.

    In those other sports, sure the quality of their section tournaments would be improved. That’s the reason the Oakland High cross country coach spoke in favor of going to NCS. And yeah, OAL athletes good enough would still go to state. But that wouldn’t be as many. A big sticking point for those in Oakland who want to remain separate is that even though their athletes aren’t up to the same level as others in some state competition, it’s important for kids in the inner city to still have that opportunity. Maybe they don’t win much at state wrestling or golf, but they at least have the chance to experience it. I don’t expect people who don’t experience OAL sports to get that because most people think only the best should be allowed to compete, but I’ve heard those pleas from people within Oakland and they make a solid point.

    On to football. You say no one outside of Oakland cares about the Silver Bowl. Sure, but people in the OAL don’t care about an NCS title. Come out to Laney College one of these years and tell me that’s not an exciting game. There’s a lot more passion at that game than any NCS title game. If the OAL can continue to improve its level of play, it’ll still have a shot at a state bowl berth. Not that I expect Mack to overcome teams like Cardinal Newman or Palma, but currently Mack is ranked fifth in the Division III NorCal bowl rankings. (Brief sidebar: Palma vs. Newman is a huge game this week for state bowl implications).

    But the biggest point of all is that you say the OAL is not showing the ability to think outside the box. If the OAL joined NCS, the OAL would lose its “box,” so to speak. In a couple of years, it would cease to exist after NCS went through realignment. Smaller schools like Mack and Fremont would branch off into other leagues, other teams would come in, and 89 years of history would go down the drain.

    As for what the actual benefits of the OAL joining NCS are (this is what the proponents I spoke to mention), they include: Better competition in sports such as soccer and cross country. Soccer teams were among the most vocal supporters because they’d like to have more competition by playing in the winter like NCS does. A compromise there has been made and the OAL is looking to move its soccer season to the winter to at least open to door to more nonleague games. A benefit of that is allowing OAL schools to branch out more and experience playing in the Valley to get a glimpse of what things are like out there, and also be able to host teams from outside of the Oakland area and show they are capable of doing so. Basically the goal is for a more well-rounded experience for athletes.

    Another benefit discussed was that NCS would be stricter with following eligibility guidelines. That came about because during the past year when Oakland didn’t have a commissioner, there were a lot of rumblings that eligibility was swept under the table. Now, with a commissioner and a renewed vigor to strictly follow CIF guidelines, that hopes to not be as much of an issue (OAL commissioner Michael Moore already forced Oakland to forfeit a game this year — a good sign that things are being monitored better).

    Overall, if you look at everything that was approved Wednesday, it appears a lot of work is going to be attempted to be done to make the OAL a better functioning section. Moore said he wants it to be a model section. They’re off to a good start and honestly, this whole discussion may be the best thing that could’ve happened to the OAL.

    Alright, I’m off my soap box now EBAL Fan.

  • no huddle

    One thing, what about OAL Baseball? I think the chance to play for an NCS title at the Coliseum would be huge for the OAL teams. Also, imagine the fan support.

  • http://ibabuzz.com/prepcorner Jimmy Durkin

    OAL plays in the TransBay Series with San Francisco and, at least in the last several years, always has one of their “home” TransBay games at the Coliseum. It’s a three-game series and I believe in years past, they’ve played some of the San Francisco “home” games at AT&T Park, although recently it’s been at USF or Big Rec. So each year, the OAL champion is guaranteed at game at the Coliseum, rather than having to win their way to the Coliseum like in NCS.

  • XTower

    Re: Baseball
    They played at AT&T in 2000 – I sat in the first-base dugout to cover the game – but I don’t recall any other TransBay games taking place there. I may be wrong. Incidentially, that Skyline team with the Taylors (J.R. and Terrell), Terry Johnson, Jase Turner and a freshman named Yonus Davis (yes THAT Yonus Davis) etc. was easily the most talented team to come from the OAL this decade.

    Re: The other stuff
    They would not have more kids qualify for track. They would have more basketball teams qualify, and the kids in the “other” sports (wrestling, golf, volleyball etc) deserve the opportunity just like everyone else regardless of how bad they suck.
    But let’s look at the flip side to all of this for a second. What happens if the OAL joins NCS and people get sick of Oakland teams dominating the lower divisions of football and basketball? A couple years ago Mack was in line to play in the Division III state football bowl game. Would those small schools have a problem with the Warriors puttin’ a hurt on them? What about if Fremont starts trouncing teams in basketball? How much backlash would there be then about some kind of unfair advantage?

    Otherwise, that’s it. I’m not going to get into this any further. Too much socio-economic and political stuff bubbling underneath the surface. Kind of one of those things that unless you’re from Oakland, you wouldn’t understand.

  • http://ibabuzz.com/prepcorner Jimmy Durkin

    XTower, yeah that 2000 game was the only one I could find that had been played there. And I’m in complete agreement on everything else you said, particularly the part about “unless you’re from Oakland, you wouldn’t understand.” It’s just different in Oakland.

    Btw…check out this Yonus picture! I think he was about 8 or 9 here.

  • XTower

    Yonus was a damn good ball player. Great feet around second base on the double play.
    I remember Gamble telling me one time that the Orioles were scouting him, even though he concentrated on football his last couple of years at Skyline.

    The other one who was an incredible youth baseball player was I’lario Vital. His last name was Baloney back then. Not sure whatever happened to I’lario, though. He was supposed to go to SJSU and last I heard he was at a JC, but then I lost track.

    I can’t even remember the last OAL kid drafted straight out of HS. Maybe Jase Turner? I know J.R. Taylor was a Twins pick in 2000. That’d be an interesting research project.

  • http://ibabuzz.com/prepcorner Jimmy Durkin

    I remember you telling me how good he was. About how you first saw him as a baseball player as a freshman, then football rolled around and he started tearing it up there. I wish I could’ve seen him on the diamond but am damn glad I got to cover the Spartans during his two best years in college football (hopefully he’s on his way to another good one this year). I ran into his brother at Skyline’s first football game and thought I was looking at Yonus first. I should’ve known better though because Yonus cut his dreads off.

    I’ll have to look into that last OAL player drafted sometime. It’s crazy when you start looking through the California state player of the year list and see how many there have been from the OAL over the years. But it’s obviously been a while.

  • epcthree

    EBALFan – you wrote:

    EBALFan: There are many advantages for the OAL to join the NCS. First and foremost, they would qualify more kids to events like state track.

    While I am a huge proponent of increasing the numbers participating in state championships (more divisions, larger qualifying pool), I am also a believer in establishing qualifying times for measurable sports like track or swimming. I’m not sure I agree that this would be an “advantage.”

    EBALFan: As for losing their automatic berth straight into NorCal in basketball, perhaps they would have a chance to get more than one school into the tournament.

    I think this can be considered a good argument. That said, I agree with a later poster who said that the smaller OAL schools would probably want to compete in the highest division. Since NCS allows schools (like De La Salle) to petition up, I would imagine the smaller schools would do this.

    EBALFan: As for NorCal golf, volleyball and state wrestling, it would improve the quality of the respective tournaments.

    While your point is valid, I don’t see why the OAL would consider this an “advantage.” I agree with your point however, it would improve the overall quality of the tournament. But again, I don’t think you can argue this as an “advantage.”

    EBALFan: As for football, no one outside of Oakland cares about the Silver Bowl. Playing for an NCS title would give the OAL kids an even greater chance for recognition, once again playing against schools of similar size.

    You’ve contradicted yourself somewhat from an earlier point you made regarding Golf, Volleyball and Wrestling. You mentioned that OAL athletes were not particularly qualified in those sports. I think the same argument could be made about OAL Football over all. I can’t remember a time where the OAL produced the best team in the East Bay, let alone Northern California or the entire state. I’m not saying I disagree per se`; I just don’t think you can go one way for your argument and then turn around and argue the opposite.

    Additional response to Jimmy Durkin:

    JD: A big sticking point for those in Oakland who want to remain separate is that even though their athletes aren’t up to the same level as others in some state competition, it’s important for kids in the inner city to still have that opportunity. Maybe they don’t win much at state wrestling or golf, but they at least have the chance to experience it.

    You mentioned that you don’t expect people who don’t experience OAL sports to get that because most people think only the best should be allowed to compete. I think your point is extremely valid. As I mentioned earlier, I am a huge proponent of California increasing the number of Divisions in order to level the playing field for all schools. One of the most important reasons in my argument is to increase the level of participation for the kids. The best teams/kids will still win; why not allow for more kids to participate?

    JD: On the topic of no one outside of Oakland caring about the Silver Bowl (JD, I know these are not your words).

    If you go back east, shoot, not even “east”, just hit Colorado; and mention the “Big Game”, hardly a soul will know you are talking about Cal/Stanford and fewer would care. The Silver Bowl is big BECAUSE it’s the OAL Crown. Frankly, infusing the NCS playoffs would take away from the Silver Bowl, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

    JD: But the biggest point of all is that you say the OAL is not showing the ability to think outside the box. If the OAL joined NCS, the OAL would lose its “box,” so to speak. In a couple of years, it would cease to exist after NCS went through realignment. Smaller schools like Mack and Fremont would branch off into other leagues, other teams would come in, and 89 years of history would go down the drain.

    Jimmy; big points here. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the OAL would lose its ability to govern itself. And you are right; ultimately, the OAL would fade away based on someone’s view of how leagues should be set up.

    JD: As for what the actual benefits of the OAL joining NCS are (this is what the proponents I spoke to mention), they include: Better competition in sports such as soccer and cross country.

    I think because as you mentioned, the OAL is looking to move its soccer season to the winter to at least open the door to more nonleague games, this really answers the OAL’s issue. Same should be done for X-Country or any other sport. Again, maybe not a benefit for the NCS, but that’s not what the point is for the OAL.

    Bottom line, it seems that the pro arguments for the OAL to join the NCS are much more beneficial to the NCS than they would be to the OAL. In this case, I don’t think they needed to think outside the box.

  • http://ibabuzz.com/prepcorner Jimmy Durkin

    Epcthree, we’re definitely on the same page here. The tangible benefits for the OAL are extremely minimal.

    One clarification, the NCS doesn’t allow teams to petition up anymore. The reason De La Salle is a Division I school is because for all-boys (or all girls) schools, they double the enrollment. Since DLS’ enrollment is around 1,000, when you double it, it’s around 2,000 and makes them D-1. The deal with the OAL all competing in D-1 isn’t exactly teams choosing to petition up. It’s an agreement that all OAL schools will compete in Division I in state competition that has divisions (although not football) regardless of school size.

  • epcthree

    JD – Thanks for the clarification on the petitioning. I reside in Colorado and wasn’t aware that they changed their policy on that. Frankly, I wish they hadn’t. If a school wants to play for a championship at a higher level, I say let them go for it.

    Here in Colorado the Denver city schools suffer from many of the same issues that schools in Oakland experience. I will never forgot coaching against a DPS school in the first round of our state playoffs. Their squad had a total of 25 kids and I actually counted the number of people in their stands. 23, and that included the “band”. They had two or three kids that went on to play D1 ball, but the team was simply outmanned. With a few exceptions, football here isn’t nearly as big a deal as it is in the East Bay.

  • http://ibabuzz.com/prepcorner Jimmy Durkin

    Yeah it was a change they made a few years ago. I liked when they could petition up. My first experience watching high school sports were when I watched my dad’s alma mater St. Joe’s dominate Div. I basketball in the early 90s with Jason Kidd. Good times.

  • XTower

    I still think that of all the great athletes I saw in my time there (Leon Powe, Marshawn Lynch, the Paris twins, Devanei Hampton, Alexis Gray-Lawson, Maurice Drew, Dennis Dixon, Josh Johnson, Frank Summers, Kenny O’Neal and so on) Yonus is the one kid who I would pay $5 out of my own pocket to watch.
    He always did something amazing every game. Guaranteed.

  • http://ibabuzz.com/prepcorner Jimmy Durkin

    I only wish I could’ve seen him in high school, but am glad I got to cover him in college. He’s one of those guys that has that quality — you don’t really know what it is — but you talk to him and you can’t help but like him. My favorite Yonus moment was I believe after SJSU beat Stanford in 2006 (a game that featured a go-ahead 42-yard TD run by current Packers WR James Jones and a game-clinching INT by current Jets CB Dwight Lowery plus Stanford had current Bills QB Trent Edwards throwing 4 TDs). He came into the press conference room and it was more than a half-hour after the game and he was still wearing his football pants, pads and all, and his cleats. He had a big game (184 yards) and got beat up a bit and you could tell he was pretty soar. The first question was “When are you gonna take your gear off?” He just cooly replied, “I guess when I get done talking to ya’ll.” That’s probably one of those “had to be there to appreciate it” moments, but it was soooo Yonus — just calm and relaxed after he had just tore it up on the field.

  • JAMES ODOMS

    As a former student-athlete i didn’t appreciate how the other schools outside the Oakland area let alone in the area got a chance to play at the coliseum its a shame how the O.A.L holds itself back for no reason more exposure for our league means more kids will play inside our zone an therefore improve the standard of whats been going on for too long STEP YOUR GAME UP!!!!!