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CIF splits lacrosse playoffs into two divisions

The CIF San Diego Section Board of Managers not only approved a reconsideration of a request to split boys lacrosse and girls lacrosse playoffs into two divisions but also approved the proposal without opposition at the June 8 Board of Managers meeting.

“I think it’s just a positive step forward,” said CIF commissioner Dennis Ackerman.

The CIF lacrosse championships have consisted of a one-division format since their inception in 2002. Under the new format, each division will have eight teams in the playoffs. During the 2010 season 41 schools had boys lacrosse teams and 36 schools participated in girls lacrosse.

The April 27 CIF Board of Managers meeting had three action items regarding lacrosse. Two of those involved a long-standing issue regarding a girls national tournament which in the past has forced girls whose teams reached the CIF finals to choose between the national tournament and the CIF championship game.

The CIF San Diego Section traditionally plays boys and girls playoffs in the same sport on the same day at the same site if the boys and girls sports are contested during the same season, thus providing equal access to venues, publicity, and times. The requests to move the girls lacrosse final to two days earlier required either a waiver to that policy or a compressed schedule for boys lacrosse, but the Boys Lacrosse Advisory Committee was concerned about the health and safety of participants with a compressed schedule.

The Board of Managers voted without opposition to move the girls lacrosse final for the 2010 season to May 27 while retaining the May 29 date for the boys lacrosse final.

The third April 27 issue involved the two-division format. The eight-team playoff brackets, which reduce the number of playoff games for championship and runner-up teams from four to three, will allow for more rest between games. The change to two divisions was also intended to reduce the disparity level and allow fairer and safer competition for new teams or teams with smaller student populations.

Although the CIF Board of Managers rejected the two-division proposal without opposition on April 27, the rejection was based on the belief that the teams would be divided based on competitive balance. The inaccurate information led to the reconsideration, and with the clarification that the divisions would be based on school enrollment the motion was supported.

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