Football: NCS Open Division On Board

The section’s league reps vote 44-3 to add four-team Open Division in football starting this fall. Of course, thoughts turn immediately to NCS super power De La Salle, which has won every NCS D1 title since 1991 and has won six CIF state titles in the highest classification in the last seven years.

There hasn’t been a groundswell of support for an Open Division in some CIF sections, such as the Sac-Joaquin, but the CIF North Coast Section on Tuesday joined San Diego, L.A. City, Central Coast and the Southern as sections with some form of an open division playoff bracket.

Representatives from the NCS’ various leagues voted overwhelmingly in favor of proposals that, first, would create a four-team Open Division in football and, second, would allow a competitive equity points system to be instituted that would push some teams upward into higher divisions in many other sports.
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NCS football, of course, means De La Salle of Concord, which has won 25 straight NCS titles not to mention six CIF state titles in the last seven years. While being part of a four-team Open Division that probably will limit the football team to just two section playoff games (compared to four that many other top teams in the state would play), De La Salle athletic director Leo Lopoz said on Tuesday that his school was supportive of the concept.

“In general, it’s good for our section,” Lopoz told Cal-Hi Sports. “There probably will be one, two or three amendments but it’s a good place to start.”

The proposal that passed also will now allow the NCS to replace a divisional champion with an Open Division runner-up or even an Open Division semifinal loser into the CIF state bowl game system.

Using last year’s top teams, for example, the NCS Open Division would have bunched De La Salle with Foothill of Pleasanton (lost in D1 final to Spartans), Antioch (lost 52-51 to Foothill in D1 semis) and Clayton Valley of Concord (won D2 section title and then lost in CIF D1-A bowl game to Narbonne).

Since the NCS is currently only allotted six teams into the NorCal bowl games (not including the Open Division state game), there could be some lower division section champs that now won’t be going to a bowl game. Currently in the CCS, its Division IV and Division V section winners are not advanced to bowl games.

The NCS also voted on Tuesday to add competitive equity factors that would move up teams in its various section playoffs. Clayton Valley, for example, already will be Division I in football, Bishop O’Dowd boys and girls basketball already will be D2 and Campolindo football already will be D2.

“Our league supported competitive equity and there are many who felt something had to be done,” Lopoz said. “I think it’ll take multiple years before you’ll see a major effect in most sports.”

One ripple effect is that since there now could be three NCS non-section champions not going to bowl games added to the two from the CCS there may be a push to add another division or two to the CIF bowl game lineup. The CIF already handed out 13 state title trophies last fall. What’s another two or three going to matter at this point.

And if NCS Open Division losing teams are going to be able to go to bowl games, why not let the losing team in the CIF Southern Section’s top division move on as well? It might be as simple as calling that division an Open Division. It’s basically what it is anyway with that section’s competitive equity divisions that will be utilized for the first time next season.

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  1. walter guanella
    Posted April 6, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    How can the BOD girls basketball be bumped up to D2? based on the points criteria a team needs 24 cumulative points over 3 yrs. to be moved up. BOD only has 20 pts. 10 pts for each NCS D3 runner up the last 2 yrs and NO PLAYOFFS AT ALL the previous year. Whatever the reason they got ZERO pts that year is irrelevant, its still only 20 pts over the last 3 years. BOD girls should NOT be moved up to D2.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted April 6, 2016 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Based on NCS criteria, you may be right. I was only repeating what I read somewhere else. Bishop O’Dowd girls, by the way, would be D1 in many other sections with their track record of success over the years.

      • TinyTim
        Posted April 12, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink


        NCS going to competitive equity for playoff divisions is a milestone for any of the sections north of the Chowchilla and hopefully set a precedent for section playoffs in the North.
        However, except for D5, the makeup of the divisions for football is nearly still based on school enrollment. D4’s Cardinal Newman, Justin-Siena, and even Moreau would be very strong in D3. D3’s El Cerrito and O’Dowd would be strong in D2. On the other side of the balance, there’s little to indicate Dougherty and Dublin could compete favorably in D1. D1 Mission San Jose probably would have a hard time in D4! There are a number of other teams that should have been moved up or down too. For some reason, though, except for Berean Christian, NCS seemed to get D5 quite accurate for “competitive equity”. Congratulations (sincerely) to NCS on organizing that division.
        The problem with using formulas to determine competitive equity is that nearly every factor that determines the strength of a team needs to be analyzed and weighted correctly or the determination is wrong. For example, when was the last time Freeman’s computer (MaxPreps) had D.L.S. number 1 in California going into the State football championship. I’m afraid NCS neglected to look at, or couldn’t determine a number of factors, so they primarily used enrollment to determine the divisions.
        It’s my guess that there will be some changes to these football divisions before the ’16 NCS playoffs; hopefully before the 2016 season begins.

  2. phil60
    Posted April 6, 2016 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    I would have to agree about the Southern Section calling the Pac5 an “open”, which it is anyway. If any runner-up deserves to go to the state playoffs, it is certainly here. Let’s hope that the Southern Section wises up and acts in the best interest of it’s own members.

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