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CIF adopts Division V for soccer, baseball, and softball

Joe Naiman

Village News Correspondent

The CIF Board of Managers unanimously supported a proposal to create a Division V for four CIF San Diego Section sports.

The April 27 vote creates a fifth division for boys soccer, girls soccer, baseball, and softball. The five-division format will be based on the model already in place for girls volleyball, boys basketball, and girls basketball.

While the five-division format for volleyball and basketball was implemented due to state playoffs, there are no state playoffs for soccer, baseball, or softball and the request to split those sports into five divisions was made by the small-school Southern Conference. The existing Division IV has significantly more schools in soccer, baseball, and softball than any of the other three divisions. That creates substantial discrepancies in enrollment; Madison High School has approximately 1,250 students while Borrego Springs has approximately 150, a ratio of 8.3:1 which exceeds the ratio of any other division. Such discrepancies also lead to lopsided first-round playoff games; in last year’s softball playoffs Madison defeated Julian 24-0 in a game called after five innings even though Julian was a league champion.

Because league champions receive automatic playoff berths, the split of Division IV into two divisions will also help anticipated Division IV teams that could be bumped from the playoffs by a Division V league champion. Separate Division IV and Division V playoffs will also provide greater equity; although anticipated Division V schools comprise 50 percent of the schools currently in Division IV they usually receive 25 percent or less of the playoff invitations. The split would also allow players from anticipated Division V schools to receive all-division recognition; the 2009 all-Division IV baseball and softball players did not include any from anticipated Division V schools.

Although playoffs for an additional division would increase venue, travel, and officiating costs, more competitive first-round games could increase attendance. San Diego Jewish Academy has offered the use of its facilities for the Division V baseball and softball finals at no cost to the CIF.

Other Division V schools may be willing to host the soccer finals, and the CIF soccer finals could also include a doubleheader or tripleheader with other divisions. “We’ll have to find a nice spot for Division V to play,” said CIF San Diego Section commissioner Dennis Ackerman.

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