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Realignment on right track

Sierra Scoop
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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The Sac-Joaquin Section unveiled its proposal for realignment this week, along with a sensible new plan for the football playoffs. The realignment’s effect on our local schools appears to be much less dramatic than last time. In 2004, the section approved the realignment proposal moving Placer from the Sierra Foothill League into the Pioneer Valley League. More than two years into Placer’s PVL move, the Hillmen have developed healthy rivalries with Bear River and Colfax, but several schools in the PVL have struggled to keep pace with the big three. Under this year’s proposal, which would go into effect starting in the 2010-11 school year, the PVL would take on a different look. Sacramento schools Foothill and Center would join the PVL, which would become a Division III league. El Dorado, Whitney and Mesa Verde would be moved into other leagues. The Mavericks have struggled to compete in just about every sport in the PVL while the Cougars are being moved due to travel concerns. Whitney would move into the Capital Athletic League. The Sierra Foothill League would remain the same, except Nevada Union would join for all sports and Oakmont would join the Capital Valley Conference. The Golden Empire League would welcome Mesa Verde and Dixon and the Division VI Central Valley Christian League would include Cristo Rey and Buckingham Charter. The realignment could coincide with a new football playoff system that would resemble the section’s basketball and volleyball playoff layouts. The new plan creates four 16-team brackets for each of the top four divisions and six-team brackets for Division V and Division VI. The brackets will be divided with Division I and II leagues together, Divisions III and IV together and so on. They will include the top two teams from each of the 10 leagues along with 12 at-large qualifiers. The brackets will be divided into divisions, by enrollment and seeded based on number of wins. The idea of the football proposal is to reward leagues with quality depth and avoid having teams with losing records being rewarded with playoff berths. The proposal would also allow the section to place the perceived best teams on opposite sides of the bracket – last season Grant and Granite Bay met in the first round of the Division II section playoffs. The section will hold four more meetings on the realignment proposal and the public is welcome to sit in and speak to the committee. The meetings are scheduled for Jan. 28, Feb. 28 and March 11. To view the complete realignment proposal and the football playoff proposal, visit www.cifsjs.org. Todd Mordhorst’s column runs Sundays in the Journal.