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The high school sports landscape in Orange County, particularly in football, is on track to look dramatically different for the 2024-25 school year.
A proposal that would shake up the entire structure of county affiliations with rankings-based, football-only leagues and another proposal for slight changes to league and conference line-ups in all other sports were approved by Orange County’s high school principals in a meeting on Monday, May 15.
Both proposals will go to the CIF-Southern Section Council for approval in October, and if approved, which seems likely, the new leagues would go into effect in the fall of 2024. The counties athletic directors approved three football proposals and three all-sports proposals at their meeting last month for the principals’ perusal.
The biggest and headlining shift would be the creation of football-specific leagues based on a two-year performance ranking system for every team in Orange County, except the six teams of the Trinity League—JSerra, Santa Margarita, Mater Dei, Servite, Orange Lutheran and St. John Bosco—which will remain intact as is.
It’s unclear how these leagues will be named, but for football, the South Coast and Sea View Leagues as they’ve been known will be gone.
The rankings will be based upon team performance from the previous two seasons with the rankings weighted with 65% of the points from the most-recent season and 35% coming from the season prior to that. The top four teams in the rankings would make the top league with nine six-team leagues to follow and a final five-team league at the bottom.
Similar rankings, created by calpreps.com, have been used by CIF-SS in recent seasons to dictate its playoff divisions at the end of the regular season with the goal being greater competitive equity between playoff opponents.
For example, if last season’s CalPreps rankings were used to create football leagues for this fall, San Clemente would be the fourth team in that top-ranked league along with Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo and Edison, which all were placed in Division 1 of the CIF-SS playoffs. San Clemente was the final team in Division 2 last season.
Tesoro would be in the second league down with Corona del Mar, El Modena, Yorba Linda, Newport Harbor and Cypress, and San Juan Hills and Trabuco Hills would be in the third league with Villa Park, Canyon, El Dorado and Orange.
Capistrano Valley would be in the fourth league with Huntington Beach, La Habra, Western, Fountain Valley and Foothill, and Aliso Niguel would be in the fifth league with Laguna Hills, Troy, Crean Lutheran, Northwood and Garden Grove.
Dana Hills and El Toro would be in the sixth league with Laguna Beach, Santa Ana, Sonora and Tustin.
For other local teams, St. Margaret’s would be in the eighth league with Esperanza, Valencia, Portola, Beckman and Pacifica. Capistrano Valley Christian, as a small school, is excluded from the Orange County region proposals.
While these are just projections based on last season’s CalPreps rankings and not the full weighted two-year scope that would be in place for fall of 2024, it’s obvious that the leagues will be put in a blender with traditional and local rivalries mostly disbanded or sent to the non-league schedule.
However, that is just for football. In every other sport, the Coast View Conference will remain intact with one new addition to round out its numbers.
Beckman, a Tustin Unified School District public school in Irvine with an enrollment of over 3,000 students, would join the South Coast and Sea View Leagues in all other sports, if the proposals is approved by the CIF-SS Council in October.
Since the departure of Laguna Hills in all sports to the Pacific Coast League two years ago—Dana Hills had joined the league in football only—the Coast View Conference had an odd number of teams which meant the South Coast and Sea View Leagues did not have an equal number of members. One league would have five and the other had four, which created scheduling issues and discrepancies.
Coast View athletic directors had expressed the desire to round out their number again, with either Beckman or Laguna Beach in the proposals sent to principals. There was another proposal that included a Capistrano Unified School District only league, but Capistrano Valley pulled the idea after the proposal had been created.
Laguna Beach settled into a new Pacific Coast Conference with St. Margaret’s, Irvine, Northwood, Portola, Sage Hill, University, Woodbridge and Rosary—an all-girls school which departs the Trinity League.
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