Thursday, June 21 , 2018, 3:59 pm | A Few Clouds 68º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with The Lab and American Riviera Bank
The LabAmerican Riviera Bank

Athletic Directors Share Thoughts on CIF’s New Playoff System

High school athletics is headed for a big change this fall.

Santa Barbara County prep teams will be competing in new playoff divisions under a restructured postseason format approved by the CIF-Southern Section earlier this week.

The California Interscholastic Federation is the governing body for high school sports in the state. It is divided into 10 sections, with the Southern Section being the largest with more than 585 schools.

In the new system, instead of leagues being aligned to playoff divisions, individual teams will be placed in divisions, based on a power-point formula.

Teams will be awarded points based on performance history —postseason success, regular-season records and strength of schedule — over a two-year period. An algorithm that takes in all of those factors will determine which division each school program will compete for a CIF-SS championship. No longer will school enrollment size or the overall success of the league determine a program’s playoff division.

The goal of the new system is to create competitive equity throughout the playoffs. The plan will affect every sport that uses bracketed playoffs, including football, volleyball, team tennis, water polo, soccer, basketball, softball and baseball.

Boys and girls basketball currently uses this system. Teams are grouped into 12 divisions for CIF titles.

The CIF-SS has been compiling two years of data from every school to determine where to place teams for the new playoff format.

“I’ve been saying and I believe that this is as big a change as we’ve made in our history, in a 100 years,”  CIF-SS commissioner Rob Wigod told reporters after the format passed.

He expects there will be some "sticker shock" in the first two years.

“It might take a few years to get it perfected,” he said. “If anyone thinks this is a finished product, it’s not.”

Noozhawk asked area high school athletic directors for their thoughts on the new playoff format.

Carpinteria athletic director Pat Cooney said he welcomes the change with "tempered optimism.

“We like the promise of competitive equity in the playoffs but remain uncertain that the CIF power ranking system will actually work to benefit schools like us,” he said. “As a small public school, we hope that population is considered but not a major factor. Carpinteria following private schools of 600-700 students into the playoff groupings in basketball has not been equitable.”

Joe Chenoweth, Santa Barbara High’s AD, said the passage of the format “potentially will impact teams needing to travel further, but the up-swing is each team will maintain competitive equity.”

Abe Jahadhmy of San Marcos has mixed feelings about teams from the same league being placed in different playoff divisions.

“On one hand, if you have a team in the league that dominates and your whole league gets put in a high division, it makes sense.” He used Santa Barbara High’s boys tennis team as an example.

“On the other hand, (the new system) waters down the CIF championship. If you look at basketball, you have divisions without a league champion. In my opinion, that is a consolation CIF champion.”

Dan Feldhaus of Dos Pueblos said the change should help programs like the boys tennis team.

“We’re not D1 — Santa Barbara has been very good. The change might give us an opportunity to move down and win a playoff game or two,” he said.

Feldhaus noted the division format used in basketball has benefited his girls team, which is ranked fifth in Division 2A. “We’re a pretty solid team for our division. We’re only going to win a couple of league games because it’s so tough (with 1AA powers Ventura and Santa Barbara and 2AA top-10 team Buena ). We have a chance to go to the playoffs.”

He’s not sure where the football team will be placed in the fall. The Chargers have won four games the last two years playing a challenging schedule. DP plays in the Channel League, which was part of the Western Division (Division 7).

Feldhaus said the CIF-SS will rank the more than 350 teams that play 11-man football and divide them up into divisions of 40 teams. The top 40 will be in Division 1, the next 40 in Division 2, etcetera.

Bishop Diego athletic director Dan Peeters isn’t sure if his school’s football team will remain in Division 3 (Northern Division) in the fall. The Cardinals and the Tri-Valley League have competed in the division the last two years after the league’s tremendous success in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Bishop won a playoff game in 2014 and two this past season, advancing to the division semifinals

“Given our success the past two years in Division 3 and our high ranking among CIF Southern Section schools, it is hard to know what, if any, impact the anticipated formula will have on our placement,” Peeters said.“Accordingly, while we may again be the smallest school by far competing in one of the top divisions — and against schools many times our size — we know our boys will embrace the challenge of competition and continue to focus on things we can control.”

For the other sports teams at Bishop, Peeters is pleased the playoff format passed.

“I am in favor of the change to align playoff divisions based on individual school success as opposed to league success.  In the long run I believe this is a positive move for Bishop Athletics, and our section in general.”

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >