Central Section OKs new division placement format

Jermaine Johnson II

Schools in the Central Section voted in favor of changing the preexisting format of playoff division placement which will be in effect for the 2021-2022 school year

PORTERVILLE – For many years, teams in the Central Section complained that they were penalized for previous years of success by being forced to move up a division. Now starting in Fall 2021, a new division placement format will be enacted that would place each of the teams entered in the playoffs into a division based upon their current year performance.

The new format was passed after a majority of representatives from each league in the Central Section voted in favor of the proposal. It will be enacted for bracketed sports such as football, volleyball, tennis, water polo, basketball, soccer, baseball and softball. Cross country, track & field, wrestling, golf and swimming will stay under the current format. Instead of divisions being based on performance from previous years, teams won’t know where they rank for the playoffs until the regular season has concluded. At that point, divisions will be determined based on a variety of computer rankings.

According to the proposal, using this model will eliminate a coach’s feelings of being penalized for past success. It’ll also deal with the issue of teams having a large influx or outflux of transfers in a given year. Instead, teams would be placed in divisions using current year results with current players on rosters. By using the current year’s data, the divisions would have teams placed with teams of common ability. Teams will not be in divisions that are too high or too low for a period of time that could benefit or hinder the program. Once teams are in divisions, then seeding criteria will be used to award the seeds for the playoffs.

“I think our playoffs will be much more competitive,” Central Section Commissioner Ryan Tos said. “The issue we have to sort out in the next 12 months is what ranking system we will use.”

The Central Section Board of Managers will be working with the different sport advisory groups to figure out if they want to use a preexisting ranking system or create a new one. It’ll likely vary depending on the sport. The CIF Southern Section are also undergoing changes to their division format for their football playoffs. They will be using rankings from CalPreps.com. The Central Section is considering using MaxPreps.com, Scorebooklive.com, or possibly a combination of both. That would require every team to have their complete season stats uploaded to those sites. Ideally the section would use data from the 2020-2021 season to test the new format, if it were to happen.

Another option would be to use the CIF Home Platform in the Central Section, but that comes with a cost that schools would have to incur.

According to Exeter Athletic Director Andrew Montes, who is also the male representative for the Central Sequoia League on the Board of Managers, the rankings will ideally place weight on a team’s record, their opponents record, and the record of the teams their opponents faced. After the rankings are set, the top eight teams will be in Division I, 9-16 would be Division II, and then divisions are groups 16 from there.

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