The Sac-Joaquin Section released its third realignment proposal Wednesday, and the current plan has Placer moving back into the Pioneer Valley League where it was before the whole process even began.
The previous realignment proposal meetings held in January had the Hillmen heading to the Capital Athletic League, with Mira Loma joining Bear River, Center, Colfax, Foothill and Lincoln in the PVL.
The current plan, which was decided upon Tuesday in Stockton, also places Mira Loma back in the Div. III CAL.
Another realignment meeting is scheduled for March 12. An additional meeting could be held on April 9, if needed.
The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Director of Communications told the Journal Wednesday afternoon that the if-needed meeting might not be needed.
“It’s pretty safe to say we’re nearing the end,” said Will DeBoard of the CIF, who has attended all of the previous meetings. “There aren’t going to be any drastic changes, or there could be no changes and this is it. We’re much closer to the final verdict than we were when we first put out this proposal. The next meeting could be the last one.”
DeBoard added that he expects Colfax, which he said has made it clear that it doesn’t want to be in a league with Placer, will be raising some issues with the proposal at the next meeting.
“I would say there’s a pretty decent chance of it staying this way,” DeBoard said of Placer staying in the PVL along with the Bruins, Cougars, Falcons, Mustangs and Zebras. “The other schools in the PVL, if they have a problem with this move, they’re going to have another meeting to say it. There’s at least a halfway decent chance somebody will say something, but the committee might not change anything.”
The switcheroo took place when Mira Loma principal Rich Nichols and Placer basically put together a joint proposal that traded those two schools back to their original leagues, DeBoard said.
“It’s still early in the process,” Placer athletic director Mark Lee said. “We’re happy with this proposal that we are in the PVL. We love the one-school, one-town atmosphere with the PVL with Lincoln, Bear River and Colfax. The transportation is to local schools.
“We want to continue to be in the PVL. It’s a good fit for us. But it’s still early in the situation and there’s nothing final until the realignment committee gives it its rubber stamp.”
Mira Loma is not interested in joining the PVL because it currently participates in separate boys and girls tennis seasons, while the PVL has coed tennis, DeBoard said.
DeBoard said despite Colfax’s dwindling projected enrollment, the Falcons are still considered, pound-for-pound, one of the most competitive teams in the section.
If passed, the four-year realignment proposal would go into effect in the fall of 2014.
The PVL will also drop from a Div. IV league. It’s currently in Div. III.
On Wednesday, a Colfax representative told Gold Country News Service it was surprised by the committee’s actions.
“It was kind of a surprise that they turned the previous proposals around,” said Colfax High athletic director Rob Hitchcock. “But it’s realignment and you can expect the unexpected.”
Colfax officials noted that the realignment committee, allowing Placer with a higher competitive equity number than Mira Loma to play in a lower division, goes against the first criterion for realignment in the section’s constitution.
That could factor in when the next realignment meeting adjourns again in March.
But DeBoard said, “There wasn’t really any kind of complaints from the section or committee (with Placer staying in the PVL).”
In the other two major topics from Tuesday’s meeting, Sonora remained for the third straight meeting in the Mother Lode League and small-school football power Central Catholic was shifted from the Western Athletic Conference to the Div. III Valley Oak League, which includes Oakdale and Manteca.
To see the current realignment plan on the section’s website, click here
Gold Country News Service’s Mike Ray contributed to this report.
Reach Matthew Kimel at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel