Last season during the state Division IV basketball championships, Bishop Montgomery won the championship by a record 41-point margin. That should have come as no surprise, since Bishop Montgomery was a Southern Section Open Division team forced to drop to Division IV for the state playoffs because of enrollment requirements.
But next month, the CIF state Federated Council is expected to consider a proposal that would allow the sections in the South to place teams in the state playoffs based on ability instead of enrollment under a two-year project. It would also be used for volleyball.
Executive Director Roger Blake said he is working with the section commissioners to come up with the proposal to prevent top teams from having to drop based on enrollment, such as Sierra Canyon playing in Division V in today's basketball final after being a Southern Section Open Division team.
Under outlines of the idea, the Southern Section would send its four best teams to the state Open Division playoffs, then its next eight, regardless of enrollment, to the Division I playoffs. Sierra Canyon would have been in Division I this season under that idea.
The Northern California Sections aren't likely to participate. They seem to like the idea of schools being placed by enrollment for now.
The proposal came from the four Southern California commissioners. The 10 section commissioners voted 10-0 last week to support the pilot program.
The proposal would have helped the City Section this season. It would mean schools like El Camino Real and Narbonne, chosen for the Open Division but not picked for state playoffs, would have made the state playoffs ahead of such teams as Division II runner-up Grant. Division champions would still get chosen for state but runner-ups would probably lose out based on rankings of the best teams that qualify for consideration.
The proposal is going to the City Section coaches' advisory committee to see if the section will support it, Commissioner John Aguirre said.