Southern Section Commissioner Rob Wigod said Tuesday he could see competitive equity playoff divisions dropping to as few as four teams at the highest level in the future if that’s what the statistics indicate.
Division 1 football is set to have an eight-team playoff bracket this fall after being a 16-team bracket last season, and it could be reduced to just four if separation grows among the top teams.
“If that’s truly the case, then that’s who should be in Division 1,” Wigod said. “We’re ready for that if that’s the direction it goes. It’s disingenuous to say we have competitive equity playoffs but have to find 16 teams. It’s going to be based on what the numbers say.”
It’s almost a warning to those schools that have engaged in an arms race to become national powers by bringing in one transfer after another to stay strong year after year. A four-team bracket, whether in football or basketball, would reduce playoff games and not necessarily be a positive for those few teams involved.
Wigod was holding his annual conversations with journalists coinciding with the new school year. On Wednesday, the Southern Section transfer committee must decide whether to make any recommendations on changing CIF transfer rules. Wigod made no predictions.
“It’s hard to say,” he said. “We have nine different people representing nine different areas. This has to be something that comes together and people believe it’s an appropriate change and there’s enough support to get it through.”
Regarding other issues, Wigod said four consecutive years of declining attendance at playoff events forced the section to raise its school sports fees, but he is confident cost-cutting measures will keep the section’s finances in the black.
The TV and streaming contract with Fox Sports West will expire at the end of the school year. It calls for 100 Southern Section events to be broadcast each year. Negotiations will begin in the coming months for a new contract. Fox Sports West is now owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group. The Southern Section has had a 23-year relationship with Fox Sports West.
“We certainly want to continue,” Wigod said.