There was a lot of outrage in the CIF Central Section on social media following Wednesday’s CIF Southern California regional basketball championships.
It wasn’t because the section’s boys and girls teams went a combined 1-24 in first-round divisional playoff games (the Open Division games won’t be played until Friday). No one in the section disputes the dominance of the CIF Southern Section, but it once again begs the question of why the CIF Central Section continues to be in the south for basketball instead of the north.
And it only takes a quick glance at many of the SoCal and NorCal divisional brackets to envision that by moving the Central Section to the north in basketball it also would help eliminate some of the biggest messes in the entire state seeding process.
The Central Section already has been moved to the north in the CIF football bowl games for its Division I, Division III and Division V champions with the other three in the south. Considering the section to be the north also has been preferred by the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings since regional rankings began in the 1980s. Sure, there aren’t many Giants’ fans in Bakersfield, but there are in Fresno and having the Central Section in the north always balances out the number of schools a little more north vs. south although the south even without the Central Section is still much larger.
In many of the CIF NorCal brackets, some of the top teams from the Sac-Joaquin, North Coast and Central Coast Section all have first-round byes. In Division I boys, for example, there were five teams with first-round byes and even if the Sac-Joaquin Section wasn’t asleep at the wheel and had the ability to move up a D1 section quarterfinalist “at-large” team to fill the vacancy created when a third D1 team was moved up to the Open Division, there would be four byes.
What would be the problem therefore of moving the Central Section teams from the south to the north? It wouldn’t cost any of the NorCal sections a spot in the actual field. At least two more teams in some brackets would actually have to play a game in the first-round, but there still might even be a bye or two.
The only NorCal bracket that didn’t have byes was in Division IV, which is where two San Francisco Section teams were entered. To us, adding the two from the Central Section still wouldn’t be that much of a problem and it’s certainly less of a problem than currently exists with the many large schools in the Central Section and Southern Section.
Perhaps two teams in some divisions in the South might then have to get a bye in the first-round, but let’s face it the CIFSS teams probably have played the tougher schedules already anyway.
In some of the other divisions in the South, moving the Central Section to the north also would make it much harder for another situation like what happened to the Patriot of Riverside girls this season. Patriot actually went 31-1 this season and didn’t get into the CIF SoCal Division III bracket. Coach John Hill’s squad maybe did play a questionable schedule and yes they did lose that one game by 59-34 to Sonora of La Habra and no we’re not arguing that the Lakeside (Lake Elsinore) girls shouldn’t have been picked to play on.
What we are arguing is that if the Central Section was moved to the north, then that would create at least two extra spots in each division so CIFSS teams like the Patriot girls (who did make it into their semifinal round) have a much better chance not to be denied.
We get it that having four sections in the south and basically four in the north is easier to balance, but with 16-team brackets that have arisen in recent years that’s no longer an issue. The bigger issue is fairness and right now the CIF Central Section is paying the price.
And by the way, does somebody actually think that by sticking the Immanuel boys in the Open Division is a way of balancing it out, showing respect? No, it isn’t. Moving the entire section to the north is what will balance it out and show more respect.