The Central Section is expanding westward.
In a 43-0 vote at the section board of managers meeting in Porterville on Tuesday, the section approved the addition of 13 schools from the San Luis Obispo area beginning in the 2018-19 school year.
All 13 schools are members of the Southern Section and will stay there through 2017-18.
“We think it brings some things that have been missing in the section, and it fills the larger-school brackets,” Central Section assistant commissioner Jeff Cardoza said. “That’s where it’s going to help.”
The section’s new schools will be: Nipomo, Templeton, Atascadero, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo-Mission Prep, Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Santa Maria-St. Joseph, Santa Maria-Righetti, Santa Maria, Orcutt Academy and Paso Robles.
This the second addition to the section in the past three years: It added High Desert League teams Bishop, Frazier Mountain, Kern Valley, California City and Rosamond three years ago and Desert for the current school year.
The HDL teams agreed to a three-year hosting restriction, not allowing any of the schools to host playoff games unless playing one another.
The restriction for the coastal schools will be financially based. Ticket revenue for section playoff games is cut three ways: 40 percent goes to the section office and 30 percent to each school playing.
For the first three years, the 13 new schools will receive only 20 percent, with 40 percent going to an existing Central Section school and 40 percent to the section.
“Their original proposal was with no travel restriction but will have a financial restriction,” Cardoza said. “We didn’t recruit them; they wanted to come in.
“They would not accept the travel like the High Desert did. They are all fine with it. They only get 20 percent from the Southern Section. This is no change for them. It’s an easy transition.”
Cardoza said division and league placement will be determined for the schools at a later time, but he did note it’s clear several will add depth to the section’s football D-I bracket.
“We assess that at a later time, but when you look at it, Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande in football, based on this year, would be D-I in football,” Cardoza said. “Quite a few in D-II and some in D-III.”
Atascadero, Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande have all scheduled Central Section teams regularly in football the past five seasons and have enjoyed success.
Combined, the three teams are a combined 16-6 against the Central Section, playing schools such as Garces, Independence, Liberty, Frontier and Stockdale from Kern County and Fresno-area teams like Clovis North, Clovis and Fresno-Bullard.
In boys basketball, St. Joseph reached the Southern Section D-V regional semifinals last year.
Travel costs for existing schools, Cardoza said, will likely not be impacted, because the distance to most of the coastal campuses is no more than many current road trips within the section.
“For Bakersfield, it will be shorter for most places such as going to Madera, in terms of miles,” Cardoza said.
Other items passed Tuesday included keeping volleyball section championships at one site; the location will be voted on in April.
The championships were played at West Hills College in Lemoore the past two years, but that contract has expired.
The section will also make divisional placements changes from a three-year cycle to a two-year cycle.