Beginning this school year team oriented sports will be using program strength and not school enrollment to determine division alignment. A new open division, with the top 8 programs, will be the top division in the section.
The CIF-San Diego section (CIFSDS) began to study the possible change back in October 2011 with the help of two CIFSDS office appointed committees made up of administrators and coaches from both public and private schools and school district offices. A Private-Public Committee and Playoff Committee met separately and eventually met together to discuss what changes needed to be made to increase the competitiveness of the playoffs.
In 2011 five schools won 48% of the divisional championships. The committees looked at other CIF sections and sports leagues of all levels around the world that have based their alignments on strength of programs. The committees agreed that data from past seasons should be used to rank teams and that the rankings should be updated every year.
The final proposal is a ranking system based on the last five years with the most recent years having more weight. MaxPreps.com Freeman Rankings will be used to rank football, volleyball, basketball and baseball. LaxPower.com rankings will be used to rank lacrosse. Field hockey, water polo, soccer and softball will wait until a suitable ranking system can be found or established.
Individually based sports, which include cross country, golf, tennis, wrestling, gymnastics and swimming will continue to have their divisions based on school enrollment.
For this first year teams can move up or down two divisions per year. For all future years teams will only be able to move up or down one division per year. One exception to this change will be football, where no school with an enrollment of 1,250 or more students can be placed below division IV.
For new teams the CIFSDS Commissioner will place the team in an appropriate division. The CIFSDS office can adjust a teams placement if the ranking system has “grossly misplaced” a team. Also, teams can request to be moved up a division but only if another team is willing to move down a division to take their place.
Schools will have a chance to appeal the division placements but only for three reasons. The three reasons will be a statistical error in the information used for rankings, the aforementioned request to move up a division, and to dispute the Commissioner’s placement of a new team.
A pilot program was established this past spring in which baseball and lacrosse divisions were based on this new system. In baseball three of the six divisional champions won their first division title, Mission Hills, San Ysidro and Calvin Christian. In fact, all three division champions were making their first championship title appearances, as well as San Dieguito Academy and Southwest (El Centro).
In boys and girls lacrosse four of the six teams that won division championships won their first title. Westview and Francis Parker in boys lacrosse won their first title while Canyon Crest and Del Norte won their first girls lacrosse titles. Six of the 12 teams to reach the lacrosse championships were making their first appearance in a title game.
This change in divisional alignment will bring more competiveness to the playoffs. The top programs will have a more difficult time reaching the finals and other schools more appropriately placed will have more competitive playoff games in the lower divisions. While no system, whether computer or human based, is perfect, this new system is a positive change.
Fall Season Divisions
Winter Season Divisions
Spring Season Divisions
2013-14 (not yet available)
The Division Alignment Rules
Each year, at the end of each season, teams will be ranked on a five-year history of data that is weighted. The teams will be placed in divisions based on the weighted ranking. Years will be weighted as follows and will be adjusted annually:
Most Recent Year: 35%
2nd Most Recent Year: 30%
3rd Most Recent Year: 20%
4th Most Recent Year: 10%
5th Most Recent Year: 5%
Sports Using MaxPreps Freeman Rankings
Sports Using LaxPower Rankings
Sports with Rankings Yet to be Determined
(will use enrollment until rankings can be established)
Water Polo, Boys
Water Polo, Girls
Sports That Remain in
Enrollment Based Divisions
Cross Country, Boys
Cross Country, Girls
Track & Field, Boys
Track & Field, Girls