Regionalized Playoff Proposal Rejected : Prep football: Section council votes down plan that would have grouped most Orange County teams in one division.


A proposal to restructure high school football playoffs on a regional basis met such stiff resistance at Thursday's meeting of the Southern Section General Council that it was sent back to the drawing board.

The proposal recommended replacing the current system, which presents championships in divisions based on enrollment, with a system that would provide competition based on geography.

Currently, the section is divided into 11 divisions based on enrollment with 11 champions; the proposal called for competition in six geographical areas with six champions. Region I would include every county high school except those competing in the Olympic, Freedom and Victory leagues.

A straw vote among league representatives Thursday at the Sequoia Athletic Club went against the proposal by a 2-1 margin. Another vote postponed geographical realignment for two years and sent the proposal back to its committee for reworking.

Rick Curtis, athletic director and assistant football coach at Irvine, was among those in attendance who opposed the proposal.

"There was no plan for smaller schools," Curtis said. "For example, University is having a great year, but they are a [Division VIII] school. But to enter the playoffs in that [regional] format, they would get a Los Alamitos or a Mater Dei. They got out of the Sea View League because they had trouble competing.

"They tried to base it on enrollment and geography, and not take in competitive equity between teams."

Another problem faces the council: The current football playoff system ends after this season, and another must be in place by next fall. Realignment will undoubtedly take place with the addition of the new Mojave River League, which begins play next year. A proposal will be presented at the council's Jan. 25 meeting.

In other action Thursday, the council voted to support proposed statewide rule changes in the following areas:

* Eliminate the rule prohibiting 14-year-olds from playing varsity football.

* Provide wrestling with a 14th weight class (215 pounds), effective this year.

* Adopt a statewide standard form for open-enrollment transfers.

These items will be voted on at the State Federated Council meeting Oct. 27-28.

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