Off the Record: Leagues should separate public, private high school teams

By Efrain Valdez, Sports Editor

iHgh school sports leagues in the North and East Bay areas have been in a constant state of change, which has hindered the potential of making Northern California a powerhouse region for football.

Sure, De La Salle High School (Concord) has been on an unprecedented run for almost 30 years, but the rest of the North Coast Section (NCS) schools have fallen well behind that dominance.

The NCS Board of Managers decided to keep its seven-division football format in tact during a meeting in late March. Despite this decision, Liberty High School (Brentwood) football coach Ryan

Partridge and former Dublin football coach Matt Hoefs presented a proposal to separate private and charter schools from public schools in NCS leagues, during time set aside for public speakers at the meeting.

The separation of public and private schools is a great idea to improve the level of competition in Northern California, but it will only work if the Central Coast Section (CCS), which runs from San

Francisco along to coast down to Monterey County, is on board to cooperate with NCS.

In the Partridge-Hoefs proposal, there would be two-eight team divisions for the private schools and five 12-team divisions for public schools. Even though this would allow big public schools to avoid having to go through De La Salle for a bid at a state bowl game, medium- and small-sized private schools who have a rich tradition of football would be damaged.

Schools like Salesian College Preparatory (Richmond) and Stellar Preparatory (Hayward) high schools will end up being a two-team race come playoff time each fall. Then other schools, like St.

Mary’s High School (Berkeley) and Marin Catholic High School (Kentfield) will never have a chance at a title because they would have to face powerhouse teams like De La Salle or Cardinal Newman High School (Santa Rosa).

The proposal is not the best solution to the current problem because you get rid of one issue and create another. However, this proposal could be a blueprint for something bigger that could change

the landscape of high school football in Northern California and maybe even the state. A statewide move to separate the public and private schools is the only way a positive change could happen for high school football in NorCal.

One of the major hurdles for the CIF to implement such a change would be trying to convince the schools in Southern California to accept the change since there is not an unbalanced competition problem there.

Ticket sales would increase at playoff games and CIF football would be respected more on the national scale. And they would stop seeing California as a one-team powerhouse. Sorry De La Salle.