By Fred Robledo ~ SGV Tribune
Representatives of the 42 high schools in the the Mt. SAC area had a big job during voting Wednesday at Glendora High School.
The Mt. SAC area voting is done every two years to group the 42 high schools into leagues, but on the agenda Wednesday was voting for conferences, football only leagues and traditional leagues.
The conference alignment was up for voting first, and the proposal got shot down in final voting. Basically, the theory of conferences is to group a large pool of teams into one conference, and then break the pool of teams into smaller leagues within the conference based on competitive equity, so each sport at the school is in a league that it can compete with.
Once that proposal was scratched, the area voted on whether to implement “football only” leagues, which like the conference theory, groups football teams into leagues based on the strength of their football teams.
There were 29 “football only” proposals on the table, and one finally won out and will start in the fall of the 2020 season.
The winning proposal, sponsored by the Hacienda League, defeated a proposal from the Foothill-Citrus Athletic Directors Association 29-13.
The area will split up into nine four-team football leagues, and one five-team league.
Under the guidelines of the CIF-Southern Section, only two teams from four-team leagues can receive automatic qualifier spots in the playoffs.
However, that doesn’t mean that all of those teams will be placed into the playoffs. If a lower playoff division has more than 16 teams that qualify for the playoffs, the CIF-SS will use the at-large criteria to determine the teams that will participate the playoffs. Thus, a premium will be placed on winning a league title to make the playoffs.
The top football league is the one with the five teams. It includes Chino Hills, Damien, Etiwanda, Rancho Cucamonga and Upland.
“This is something new for our area, it’s a football league, which had been thrown out there the last couple of releaguing cycles,” said Glendora principal Paul Lopez, who is the chairman of the ad-hoc area committee and oversees the Mt. SAC area. “Some football teams needed relief and coming up with football-only leagues is a good thing for the area.”
It was evident throughout the voting process that competitive equity was the primary factor over geography and school enrollment when it came to pairing down the proposals for the “football only” model.
Walnut and Wilson made compelling cases to receive relief from their current league placements. When the voting was done, both schools got the relief they wanted.
In a newly created league, Walnut will join Diamond Bar, Nogales and Ontario. None of those four teams had a winning record last season.
“I just want our teams to be able to compete at the end of the day,” Walnut AD Jerry Person said. “When you really think about this thing, what is competition? Competing is being able to play and know that you are not going to be defeated by 40 or 50 points.”
Wilson principal Danielle Kenfield asked for relief based on the program being on the wrong side of lopsided contests in recent seasons and for the safety of the players on the team. The Wildcats will play in a four-team league that will include Baldwin Park, Montclair and Workman.
“I want to make sure that our kids have a good time playing football, but that they are safe as well,” Kenfield said. “I am delighted with this result. As educators and professionals, we have to make sure and do the best we can to provide a safe environment for our students to perform. I felt that everyone in the area was on the same page.”
Some of the other four-team league alignments: Glendora, Colony, Los Osos, South Hills; Alta Loma, Ayala, Bonita, Charter Oak; Diamond Ranch, Los Altos, Northview, San Dimas.
After “football only” leagues were voted in, the Mt. SAC area had to vote on the non-football leagues that comprise the area.
A total of 21 proposals were submitted, and the majority voted to implement the proposal sponsored by Walnut.
While the Baseline and Palomares leagues remain unchanged, Rowland, Diamond Bar and Wilson were placed into the Hacienda League (joining South Hills, Walnut and Los Altos); Charter Oak, Diamond Ranch and West Covina will be in the Valle Vista League (with Northview, San Dimas, and Covina).
Baldwin Park, which was looking for relief due to a poor winning percentage in boys and girls sports, didn’t get any relief and is now part of the Mt. Baldy League with Chaffey, Chino, Don Lugo, Montclair and Ontario.
“I tried to move them around to get (Baldwin Park) out the situation they were in,” Person said when asked why he placed Baldwin Park in the Mt. Baldy. “I looked at the data, similar schools, that’s how I put our proposal together. I wanted to get like schools together, and the student population was a factor. I’ve been in those shoes before; we were in the Baseline League when I first got to Walnut. We needed relief.”