Competitive equity has come to the North Coast Section playoffs.
The NCS Board of Managers voted 29-19 at their spring meeting on Tuesday to approve a system that adjusts the section’s competitive divisions based on schools’ recent performances on the field or court. The system applies a numerical formula to playoff results over the previous three seasons, automatically bumping the most successful teams into a higher division.
Less accomplished teams would make corresponding moves into a lower division.
The rule change goes into effect for the 2015-16 school year and applies to teams in football, basketball, baseball, softball, girls’ volleyball, water polo and lacrosse.
No Redwood Empire teams are slated to get moved up in football or basketball next year. Among those teams expected to drop are Santa Rosa High (from Division 1 to Division 2) and Elsie Allen (D4 to D5) in football, and the boys basketball programs from Santa Rosa (D1 to D2), Rancho Cotate (D2 to D3), El Molino and Fort Bragg (both D4 to D5).
The NCS had previously determined its divisions based solely on student enrollment. Some argued that the section created an unfair disadvantage for small-town public schools, which don’t possess the same ability as similarly sized private schools to draw top athletes from a wide geographic area.
Teams’ slotting for NCS would also apply to CIF state playoffs if they were to advance that far.
If a team were unable to sustain its success after moving up, it would be returned to its original division. Also, schools would still be permitted to petition to move up on their own.
According to NCS commissioner Gil Lemmon, just about every other large section in California applies some degree of redistribution.