CIF Committee Tries to Avoid Conflict by Forwarding 2 Releaguing Proposals

In an unusual move, a CIF Southern Section committee has asked the section council to choose between two releaguing proposals that could affect athletic teams in 21 public high schools in Southeast Los Angeles County.

One of the plans, created and recommended by the releaguing appeals committee, asks that the lineup of area leagues remain intact until 1990. The second plan, passed earlier this month on a 14-7 vote by high school principals in the San Gabriel Valley releaguing area, would rearrange the current three-league system.

The failure of the San Gabriel Valley releaguing area committee to endorse the principals' plan, while sending along its own, likely means that the leagues will remain unchanged through the end of this decade, according to Michelle Lawrence, the Whittier High School principal who chairs the committee.

The rare move of forwarding two proposals is viewed as a diplomatic way to head off animosity toward committee members, many of them high school principals, and to reduce friction among the principals in the San Gabriel area.

The Southern Section council will make the final decision in September.

The CIF Southern Section releagues every two years in an effort to maintain balanced competition. High school principals are responsible for the releaguing of their designated geographic areas. In the case of the San Gabriel Valley area, the committee declined to allow a third releaguing try among the administrators, whose bickering spilled over at times during Tuesday's appeals hearing in Buena Park. The appeals committee in May rejected the principals' first releaguing proposal.

Like its predecessor, the most recent proposal by principals was characterized by opponents as being less competitive, while segregating minority schools. Proponents argued that the principals' plan would actually enhance competition and provide better balance between schools of equal student populations.

Remaining intact in the releaguing committee's proposal would be the grouping of Cerritos, Dominguez, Downey, Gahr, Lynwood, Paramount and Warren high schools in the San Gabriel Valley League; Artesia, Bellflower, John Glenn, La Mirada, Mayfair and Norwalk in the Suburban League; and Bell Gardens, California, El Rancho, La Serna, Montebello, Pioneer, Santa Fe and Whittier in the Whitmont League.

A majority of the area's principals have complained that the San Gabriel Valley area is too small to accommodate a fair releaguing process. Although he has not officially spoken on the matter, Southern Section Commissioner Stan Thomas has told at least three principals that he hopes to make adjustments in the size of the area by the 1990 releaguing deadline.

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