OK, so using a David Bowie song title from 1971 might not be the best way to relate to an audience that follows high school sports, but I just couldn't help myself. And it's appropriate — the Central Section made some significant changes at Wednesday's Board of Managers meeting, and it discussed even more.
For starters, the league realignment that moves Garces into the Southwest Yosemite League has been made official, and as the Rams move into the league in fall 2014, Independence will move out, into the South Yosemite League. Tehachapi and East will also join the SYL (don't be surprised if these names change at some point, too), joining Golden Valley, Ridgeview and West.
The SEYL will then be left with Foothill, Highland, Mira Monte, North and South.
Other major developments:
• Starting this fall, the High Desert League — Bishop, Cal City, Desert, Frazier Mountain, Kern Valley and Rosamond — will move into the Central Section. It makes sense for those schools, which asked for the invitation and won't have to travel to the L.A. area to compete against private schools come playoff time. Of course, there will be significant travel issues in this section, too — Coalinga to Bishop or Rosamond doesn't sound like a fun trip — but the HDL schools have agreed that they won't host playoff games (except those between themselves) in any sport for three years. It also means that Kern County is entirely in the Central Section except for five schools: Burroughs, Boron, Mojave, Maricopa and Immanuel Christian.
• The section eliminated all full-contact football practice in the off-season, something some districts have allowed (most notably the Clovis Unified School District) but others, like the Kern High School District, previously outlawed. Essentially, this move evens the off-season playing field for all section schools. I talked to two local football coaches at the SWYL track and field meet tonight who were excited for the change for that reason.
• A proposal to move all volleyball section finals to one site was tabled until the October board meeting. Section commissioner Jim Crichlow said there was some consternation about holding a five-match championship Saturday at a high school site, so organizers will try to find bigger sites to serve as hosts. West Hills College in Lemoore, Fresno Pacific University, Bakersfield College and Rabobank Arena were all mentioned as possibilities. If approved in October, the one-site finals could still be implemented in time for next fall.
• The board unanimously voted to move forward with two proposals the section will take to the state CIF. One, which Crichlow said has widespread Southern Cal support, would create five divisions for the regional soccer championships; currently there are three.
The other change would alter the entire CIF landscape: The Central Section will ask to be moved into Northern California for all state playoffs. A similar proposal was shot down at the state level in 2007, but Crichlow said he thinks there is more statewide support this time around.
The proposal will be made at a state CIF meeting in the fall, but Crichlow said a final answer likely won’t come until spring 2014. The change could be implemented in time for the 2014-15 school year.
• Proposals to move football and baseball section finals to one site were also heard, though votes won’t be taken until October.
Crichlow said most of the opposition to one-site plans stems from the money schools make from football championships. The proposal calls for all six games to be held over two days at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno.
Stan Greene, director of school support services for the KHSD, said this week that his schools were loathe to give up home-field advantage. Crichlow said another possibility raised Wednesday was to rotate the finals between Bulldog Stadium and Memorial Stadium at BC.
Got all that? Sounds like another important meeting coming in October.