Late last month, California Interscholastic Federation Executive Director Marie Ishida seemed less than optimistic about the addition of regional football championship games.
On Friday in Milpitas, however, the CIF Federated Council voted to approve the regionals which will help teams earn state bowl berths rather than being hand-picked by section commissioners.
Now simply the top two teams from Northern California's five divisions (Open, I, II, III and small schools) and the top two from Southern California will be hand-picked by the commissioners.
Those two teams will play for the right to play in the state championship, starting in 2012 in Carson.
Section championships will be needed to be completed a week earlier now and some teams will wind up playing 16 games, much like those in Texas and Florida.
"I'm pleased," Ishida told Contra Costa Times reporter Jimmy Durkin
. "We've been working on this for a number of years."
Seven of the 10 state's sections voted in favor of the plan, with the North Coast, Southern and San Diego Sections opposing.
Regional championship games will be played at sites nearest the higher seeded teams.
The new format allows teams from the Central Section and Oakland Section, which has not had a representative in the five-year history, to earn its way in.
More important, perhaps, this is another revenue generator for the CIF and its sections. Profits from the regionals will be shared by all 10 sections.
Reaction around the state seemed mixed.
Oakland Commissioner Michael Moore had a 12-0 McClymonds (Oakland)
team last year not get picked.
"That was a fantastic team," Moore told Durkin. "There wasn't an avenue for them to keep playing. I think this remedies that."Encinal (Alameda)
coach Joe Tenorio, whose team was also by-passed after going 13-0 in 2008, told the Contra Costa Times: "It's about time. That's great news."
Those opposed to the measure simply didn't want an additional week to the season. The Southern Section, as Los Angeles Times staff writer Eric Sondheimer pointed out, received only 36 votes of the 137 (26 percent) even though it sports 582 of the CIF's 1,494 schools (39 percent).
"It's a lot of games for 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds," St. Bonaventure (Ventura)
coach Todd Therrien told Sondheimer
Therrien told the story about when his team won a 2007 State Bowl title and talked to a starting linebacker, who said: "I'm excited we won state, but I don't know if I could have played another week."