CIF approves regional football championships

If you were following my Tweets earlier today, you know that the California Interscholastic Federation Federated Council today approved regional football championship games. Here’s my story for tomorrow’s paper.

The California Interscholastic Federation state football championships are expanding again.

The CIF Federated Council voted Friday at its meeting in Milpitas to approve regional football championship games starting in the 2012 season, creating an opportunity for state bowl berths to decided on the field. It also means some schools will play as many as 16 games.

“I’m pleased,” CIF Executive Director Marie Ishida said. “We’ve been working on this for a number of years. With this organization, you just have to move slowly sometimes and let it work itself through the process.”

Regional championships will be conducted in each of the five divisions (Open, I, II, III, IV), with the Northern regional winners advancing to face the Southern regional winners in the state championship bowl games. The regional championships will be played at sites nearest the higher seeded team.

Previously, state bowl teams were selected by the 10 section commissioners, who will now determine the regional matchups.

“The committee realized and I think some of the commissioners realized that there are certain sections and maybe certain parts of our state that may never get the opportunity to be in a bowl game unless they play their way in, simply because of where they are located and who surrounds them,” Ishida said.

The profits from the regional championship games will be shared with the state’s 10 sections. The North Coast Section will receive 8.7 percent of the revenue and the Oakland Section will receive 1.24 percent.

The Federated Council also approved a running clock in the fourth quarter of games if a team leads by 35 or more points, beginning this season. The running clock would be up to the mutual agreement of the coaches for the third quarter if one team leads by 35 or more points at halftime.

The regional championships were the biggest topic of the day. The Oakland Section was one of seven sections to vote in favor of the proposal. Commissioner Michael Moore Sr. cited last year’s 12-0 McClymonds team as an example of a school that might have benefited from the change.

“That was a fantastic team,” Moore said. “There wasn’t an avenue for them to keep playing. I think this remedies that.”

Encinal coach Joe Tenorio, who saw his 2008 team passed over for a bid to the state bowl championship game after going 13-0, praised the decision.

“That’s exciting,” he said. “I think that’s great news.”

The NCS joined the San Diego and Southern sections in opposing the regional championships. NCS commissioner Gil Lemmon said the section did not want to see the regular season shortened by a week.

Currently, there are 11 weeks to play 10 regular-season games, but the added regional game means section playoffs must be completed a week earlier.

Said Lemmon: “We’re going to adjust and put it out to our membership that the calendar is going to change and they’re going to have to decide whether they want to stick to that starting date or go a week earlier.”

Jimmy Durkin

Jimmy Durkin is a sports writer for the Bay Area News Group.

  • Bob

    awesome! this means that independent leagues like Oakland and SF will be able to put their money where their mouths are and show on the field how good they are.

  • EBfootball

    That’s what’s up! But 16 games means a one game playoff for the regional. Looks like the two teams in that game will have to be selected. Will the Oakland Athletic League Silver Bowl Re-Match Classic winner qualify for division II for state only or will they be eligible for the regional game of their school size? And what are the OAL’s official “sports” size, being that they can pull athletes from charter schools and there are a ton of charter schools in Oakland.

  • red&white

    Coach Mac can we expect to see your team in the Playoffs?

  • Gdog

    In the past the regions have been able to choose their best reps for the Open, DI, DII. They haven’t always gotten the spots correct but most of the time have at least gotten the two best teams in the Region playing in one of the games. Using this format the two best “perceived” teams will play in a Nor-Cal Open Championship. The winner will move on and the loser is out. That means that possibly the second or third best team in the North or South may not be in a bowl game at all. I like a playoff first in each Division and then still allow for a selection for the Open game.

    Much like the idea of having an Open Basketball Championship. If all the best teams were in the Open Division that actual enrollment Division winners would be weaker teams than the losers from the Open bracket.

  • I hope that we’re still gonna be smart & try & choose the 5 best teams. Why have DLS play Grant in 2008? Let them play whoever in a one game play-off & it is what it is. Make sure the teams we feel are the best go.Would have been good for I think Bellarmine that year to play one of those 2 teams.

  • KillerD

    Interesting change by the CIF, but this is still high school football we are talking about.

    At what point does the emphasis become too focused on winning a mythical championship at the high school level?

    I believe high school football should remain focused on developing all of the other intangibles for the student athletes.

    Am I wrong about this, is the CIF focus pressing in the wrong direction?

    Or am I right about this?

  • KillerD,
    This is voted on by the CIF Federated Council, which is mostly made up of representatives from each section. It’s similar to the U.S. Congress, where each section has a certain number of votes based on its size. For example, the NCS gets 14 votes, the Oakland Section gets 2 votes, the Southern Section gets 36 votes. So its a consensus of the state representatives to go forward with this and those sections vote based on the feedback they get from their member schools.

  • Gdog


    It is not a mythical championship if you actually play the games, but your point about the wrong emphasis may be correct.

    It is just so hard in FB with the week off between games to play a season that long. Now some kids are playing 16 games in HS, that is more than College. NFL players do not want to add two more games because of injuries and the wear and tear of an even longer season, when their effective work lifespan is 5-6 years anyway. Kids that play multiple sports will be getting to their basketball teams even later. While this may not effect the elite teams that have little crossover, I bet a lot of the players for a small school like Escalon for example play another sport. The CIF will be adding revenues from these match-ups. Like you said a DLS v Grant game would have been off the hook, and played somewhere like UOP would have brought in 30,000+ fans. That is a lot of money.

  • InTheKnow

    Bay Area guys in draft:
    Congrats to Roy Helu (SRV) 4th round, and Dejon Gomes (Logan) 5th round. They both get to go to Redskins together.

    Also Ryan Whalen (Monte Vista) to Cincinatti.

  • KillerD

    Gdog,,,,,good points and yes the season is too long for HS ball at that point

  • @Jimmy

    Am I accurate in saying this might actually weaken the State Bowl game because usually the top D1 school is selected to the open division state game and the “second” best D1 school is selected to the D1 state game. But now if the the top two D1 schools play each other, then the “third” best D1 school(winner of the the regional playoff) will play in the D1 state game. It’s kind of like the flaw with the CCS playoffs.

  • EBfootball,
    Not necessarily. It’s not always the top D1 school going to the open state game. When Grant was picked, it was a D2 school. But yeah, if it’s determined the top two NorCal schools are D1, they could end up in the North Open game and the D1 game could essentially be the third and fourth best D1 schools.

    However, I should note, it’s not yet in stone how they’ll handle the Open regional championships. There’s a possibility they could play 5 regional championship games and then decide which of those 5 regional champions should play in the Open Division state championship game. That’s something Marie Ishida said would be ironed out fairly quickly. She said the most logical way would be to select the Open Division teams before regionals, but that’s not yet officially settled.

    One other note for Gdog, the season will have one extra game for 10 teams, but the season will not be extending a week longer. Section playoffs will end a week earlier and the regional championship games will be the same weekend that NCS normally holds its championship games. So your fears of multi-sports players joining their team a week later aren’t necessary. The season will be the same length, just with an added game. They’ve simply eliminated the bye week element from the schedule, with is something that was only added in three or four years ago.

  • Prep Fan

    It would still be mythical because inevitably some teams will still be left out, feeling like they should have gotten a shot. For instance this year either Concord or Mack would have been left out while the other team played Folsom. Both teams had unbelievable seasons, and one would still be feeling shafted that they didn’t get a chance to settle it on the field like is done in basketball where you keep playing until you lose or finish as state champs. But with the sheer number of schools in CA, there is no way to have a true playoff.

    Still, this will get more teams involved and is more fair than we have seen in the initial bowl years. I hope they will have the NorCal games all in one place so more people can watch.

  • Ebalfan #2

    They need to eliminate one of the regional games; a 16 seed NCS is ridiculous. Make the north state playoffs two games and you’d have a legit playoff system. The “open” game should be eliminated. Doesn’t seem to be any real need for it.

  • Prep Fan

    I agree ebalfan #2. If you limit the playoffs to the top 8 teams in each division, you gain another week. Put the SF City champ into the CCS playoffs at whatever division they are in and the OAL champ into the NCS as one of the 8 teams in their division. Limit the playoffs to winners of each league, plus a much smaller group of at large teams to get to 8. No more 6th place teams advancing.

    Then the winners of the SJS, NCS, CCS & NS for each division square off for 2 weeks to determine who represents the North. Since there are no D1 teams in the NS, then one at large team that didn’t win their section could get in, maybe a Cal High this year or (God forbid) if DLS should lose in the NCS finals one year, or the most deserving team from SJS or CCS.

    This year, Mack would have gone into the NCS playoffs and would have had to go up against either Concord if in D2 or Salesian if D4. Then we would have seen what happened on the field, instead of having to wonder about how good those teams really were and getting to watch .500 teams lose in the 1st round.

  • Just Sayin’

    What about having a state baseball championship?

  • @ebalfan #2 I agree. Calpreps has already done the math if we’re going to a 6 round play-off CIF can do a true State-wide play-off. In the NCS the travel is already there Eureka & Fortuna teams are traveling 5-6 hours to play a game. You can get to LA in 6 hours.

  • Why would the paper run a story on the Granada High sprinters quiting the track team? Could not been done behind the scenes without fan fare?
    That’s not a good example for others to see. Track is an individual sport other than relays- you run for yourself and times- their times haven’t been up to shuff this year or even last- I expected more from 2 boys going to Notre Dame on football. Could the smacking they took from DELa during football lead to injuries?

  • They ran for their lives against the Spartans.

  • Up in my neck of the woods the SACJUAQ , their actions are considered shifty and dodging. Running backs and sprinters stick it out.

  • Guys…This is good…I agree with Prep Fan and EBAL fan#2…..Too many teams have been in the playoff’s that have no business being there…Let the champs from each league go into the playoffs….This would mean win or die….Eureka and Fortuna always seem to come up with winning teams…BUT….traveling is the price you pay for winning….This also means each team had better come to play….

  • Prep Fan

    Just Sayin’ re: post #16. A state baseball championship should be a lot easier as they can play more than one game per week. The current problem is that the season ends so late that they run up against the end of the school year by the time the playoffs are done. They only go to sectional titles, but would need another 3 games to have a true state playoff similar to basketball. In baseball, they can even play 2 games in a day, so we are not even talking about more than another week to have a true state champion. Just have the 4 section winners battle it out on one weekend and have the winner move on to play the SoCal winner. If need be, then reduce the number of teams advancing in the sectionals to just 8 which would shorten the sectional playoffs by a game.

  • What Prep Fan say’s…Makes a lot of sense….The only other thing that can be done is to start one week earlier in the season…Each entry should meet the southern teams based on victories on the field instead of by selection….The selections this last round were all good choices, but this doesn’t always happen..


    Eureka and Fortuna schould play football in Oregon. Would that make them happier

  • NCS Football Fan

    I may be coming in to this late but remember this a work in process. Give it a year or two and they will make changes that will work out for the best. Just keep in mind the shear number of teams that play in the state will make it hard for there to be a perfect system. Limiting the number of At-large bids will limit the playoff income for the sections thats why you see 5 or 6 .500 teams in the first round. Plus if you have only league winners you would have teams like Healdsburg kept out of the playoffs the last 6 years. They are a DIV school that plays in a league of DII schools. They might have a 7-3 record year each but those three losses come at the hands of teams like Windsor (1500 students) Casa Grande (1300) Analy (1000+) or any number of NCS East Bay school that have 1000+ students. They haven’t won that league in a long time but remember they have been in section finals and/or beat other DIII and DIV league winners year after year and they only have 750 to 800 students each year.

  • 617lemon

    if you get rid of .500 or sub.500 teams how do you expect kemper to make the playoffs? 2-5 after 7 games like i said duderino were you at? A team football whats up? Crickets the guy did rochlin dirty know karma is taking over plus he’s a snitch its funny dont here kemper bad mouthing the d coordinator this year dont know why 10 yards a pop on friday no hitters on d. Cant wait to here papa moyer game summary talk about a guy who dont tell it like it is but i guess there right when they say the apple dont fall to far from the tree.