CIF approves open division basketball, new transfer rules

The California Interscholastic Federation Federated Council voted Friday to add an open division to its basketball championships and approve a new relaxed transfer policy.
The open division in basketball will begin in the 2012-13 season and feature up to eight entries for boys and girls basketball in the Northern and Southern regional championships.
The winners of the regional open division championships will play each other in a state championship game, adding an additional game to the current five-division slate.
The CIF will select the teams for the open division brackets from the pool of teams who meet a specific criteria. That criteria includes teams thatt have won two consecutive section championships, have qualified for the regional championships (.ie NorCal playoffs) for three of the past four years or reached the state or regional final the previous year. They also can have been ranked in the top 10 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, Calpreps or MaxPreps in early March for two straight years, including the current season.
Teams would have the option to opt in to the open divisions, but teams that are selected who meet the criteria cannot opt out.
The motion passed nearly unanimously, with only the North Coast Section casting 14 no votes.
The new transfer policy, approved by a 114-21 vote, will create a 30-day sit out period for athletes who transfer schools without a valid change of residence. Athletes would have to sit out until Oct. 1 for fall sports, Dec. 31 for winter sports and April 1 for spring sports.
The policy is a change from the current one year that athletes must sit out for transferring without a valid residency change. The basis of the new rule is to lessen legal fees that arise from legal challenges to CIF eligibility rulings.
The 30-day sit out period is expected to result in fewer legal challenges because athletes would not have to miss a complete season. Meanwhile, the hope is the 30-day sit out period is still enough of a deterrent to prevent a mass volume of transfers.
The NCS and Oakland Section joined the Northern Section in casting the 21 votes against the policy. All other sections voted in favor of the change.

Jimmy Durkin

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

  • Gdog

    Forget about the North winning any State Titles or maybe 1 the “Open” only. If you use Calpreps (and I am not a lover) but only 14 of the top 60 teams in California were from the North. So if we take the top 8 in 1 bracket that leaves the other 6 to compete against the other top 38 in the State from the South. The South generally has 3-5 teams in each Division that are as good or better than the 1-2 top seeds in the North. I think the Open will very competitive but the rest is a joke. Looking at 2012 we could have had the following “State Championship” games, Lutheran Orange vs Pleasant Grove, Mayfair v Chico, St John Bosco v Foothill, Price v Modesto Christian. DV would be about the same as those teams are rarely in the top 8 but would they force a St Joes up for example, which has zero chance of advancing throught that bracket? Just play a TOC at the end really between State Champs the argument over the best team is between 3-4 teams. One week 4 team bracket.

  • Prep Fan

    I think its great as it puts all the best teams into a true playoff and not separated into 5 different divisions. I think St. Joe’s will be competitive. They looked pretty darn good this year in the state D5 title game and have a some nice talent coming back. They played Salesian close this year and Salesian could have played with anybody.

    We could have a bracket with say Mitty, Salesian, St. Joes, DLS, Sheldon, Mater Dei, Jesuit, Bullard, La Costa Canyon, Bishop Alemany, Newark, Price, BOD, etc. Winning that bracket would be a great accomplishment. This may not be great for schools that just want to collect state championship trophies but it should be great for basketball fans to see top notch high school competition. The Open division will be must see hoops.

  • Intheknow

    Prep Fan,

    Im not sure if this will created the best possible scenarios for the North to win state championships. I think we would probably only have one chance and that would be the open representative.

    St. Joes and coach Lippi have done a great job. But realistically it would be really really tough for them to win the open. The would def compete will all of them but to play either Mitty/Salesian then have to turn around and play the winner of DLS/Sheldon then play against a Jesuit or BOD just to get to play Mater Dei….. that would be a long shot and they would almost never win a state title.

  • Prep Fan

    I guess I’m just not that concerned about the North winning a bunch of state championships. We have too many divisions as it is. Don’t get me wrong, I always root for the North, but I’m just a fan of good basketball and this sets up some dream matchups.

  • Gdog

    First off the teams will not play each other in the regular season. So the DLS v Mitty, Mitty v Salesian, Salesian v Sheldon, match-ups will be played less. If you doubt it just look at how often the top teams in each division play each other in the regular season. Not often and it will be even less. Look in the South. Mater Dei never plays Poly, Loyola, etc in the regular season. Now you won’t play any of them because you will not know who will be selected for the “Open”. I don’t mind the idea of having just 1 single division, then do away with all the other “State Championship” games. Or have a TOC after the 5 Champs are crowned and have them play off.

  • The likelihood of St. Joe’s being selected, at least based on recent history, is slim. Part of the criteria they will look at is strength of schedule and St. Joe’s doesn’t play a major schedule. It’s specifically noted that they are looking at teams schedule to see if they are playing a national or regional type schedule. Meaning, they are looking at teams that are out playing top competition. St. Joe’s doesn’t necessarily do that. They schedule a few tough nonleague games, but not many. Also, since only four teams from one section may get selected, St. Joe’s — at least this year — would not have gone ahead of DLS, Salesian, Newark and O’Dowd.

  • bigmike

    I have a problem. Not with the bracket, honestly I could care less. I have a problem with the “relaxed” transfer rule. To say a student athlete only has to sit out for one month before they can play is, in essence, saying, “go to any school you want in order to play sports, but we don’t care about the education you receive.” What ever happened to the term STUDENT-athlete? It seems high school sports is taking its cue from college sports, where classes and education comes second to practice and games and championships. I was always taught sports in high school was a privilege you EARNED because of your hard work in the classroom.

    Plus to give a weak excuse like “lessoning legal fees” as an argument for the change is ridiculous. It’s simple…you transfer without a valid reason, you don’t play that year. If you allow players toplay after sitting out one month, you are going to have coaches hold roster spots open for those transfer students, which takes spots away from the students have been invested in their school and their sports program from the beginning. High school sports should not be about championships, it should be about learning and growing as an individual and developing an honor code about integrity and fair play. With this rule change the CIF is teaching our students winning on the court is more important than winning in the classroom and in life.

  • hoops

    I really like Gdog’s idea to have the 4 state champs play each other.The only negative to me is 3 state champs will end the year with a loss.He is also correct about the depth of good teams in so cal so the open will hurt nor cal a little but when it comes down to it it is more meaningful to Salesian to beat DLS than to beat a so cal team.It would be to me.Anyway a 4 team playoff at the end would truly create an overall state champion and would be very interesting as well while increasing the season for only 4 schools.NEVER happen though.

  • hoops

    The transfer rule change is pathetic.I can honestly see studs transferring for the second half of the season like an NBA mid season trade.Bad idea and there is going to be some serious repurcussions with this.Just watch and see.There are too many AAU scumbags controlling these kids and their parents.Loyalty and education do not matter.These guys have already told the great freshman at O’Dowd to transfer to an easier school because he does not need a high quality education because he will be playing in the NBA.These guys should be banned from civilized society.

  • concrete17

    @#7 Big Mike…..great post, spot on. The worry use to be that club teams would replace high school teams in some sports. Looks more like “If you can beat ’em then join ’em”. With this rule some high schools sports programs will become defacto club programs with academics taking the back seat. Guess we’ll see in the next few years.

  • Gdog

    How about Coach Jones to MV? Not sure he won’t be questioning himself over that move. Will be dealing with much less athletically gifted players plus the parents at MV (PrepFan can attest to this point). I know he is an alum and might have better facilities but not sure if that is a move up. Powers won 2 section titles competing against DLS, Newark, etc and that was not good enough for those people. I know Coach Powers made his own decision to leave but I don’t think he had to think long to get out of there. Certainly a good hire for the school will be interesting to see how it works out. CV had a very young team coming back and was well stocked for the next two years with talented players.

  • Prep Fan

    Jones may be leaving more raw talent at CV, but MV alwas has some good athletes and the parents have the money to send the kids to all kinds of camps and have personal trainers, etc. So there are some positives aside from gettinng back to his roots. I know there were some CV parents who made life pretty tough on the coaching staff as well, but the meddling of MV parents can be off the hook. Jones had some real good teams at CV, and it remains to be seen if he can improve upon that at MV. I have to think he’ll be successful at MV, but maybe not win as many games as he would have every year at CV. He paid his dues at CV, and I’m sure learned a lot over the past 5 years. He was lucky enough to be in a position to be able to choose between the 2 schools.

  • hoops

    It sure seems like the higher up you go up the food chain….schools in wealthy communities,the more the parents are a pain in the @$$.Good luck to Jones,he did a good job at CV.