Southern Section will explore new playoff grouping strategy for 2016

Eric Sondheimer
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Call it a bombshell announcement.

In a message sent to member schools in the Southern Section, Commissioner Rob Wigod said on Tuesday that the section will explore a new format for divisional playoffs for all sports in placing schools individually based on performance and not place entire leagues into a specific division.

For example, in football, the Moore League, led by Long Beach Poly, has been in the Pac-5. But under the new format, only Poly would probably be in the Pac-5 based on performance, with the other schools likely getting relief.

No changes would take place before the 2016-2018 playoff grouping cycle, but if the Southern Section is able to pull it off, it could lead to much more balanced playoff competitions in football and other sports.

And if the changes had been in place for this past year, it’s likely the Southern Section would have saved more than $100,000 in legal fees after being sued by St. Bonaventure, Oaks Christian, Damien and St. Lucy’s when the section tried to move those schools out of their sports areas.

One reason the move was attempted was because of the powerful football programs at St. Bonaventure and Oaks Christian. The new playoff concept could have given relief to schools in the leagues with St. Bonaventure and Oaks Christian and not have forced them to be part of the Pac-5 under the concept being considered.

"I like the concept," St. Bonaventure Principal Marc Groff said.

In other words, no more lawsuits and no more having to move schools because certain sports teams have become too good for a particular league.

The concept also would help bring together the best teams in certain divisions, similar to what basketball has done with its new Open Division.

First someone must come up with a formula or point system to group teams.

As Wigod said, “Stay tuned for updates.”




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