Section changes for football 2018

Playoffs have tightened up
By: Jim Linsdau
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LODI-- The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section held its media day last week in Lodi to highlight the changes in high school sports for the coming year.


SJS Assistant Commissioner Will DeBoard chaired the meeting and laid out a number of decisions concerning football.


The playoffs will be more division-conscious this season, with being the official organization from which the playoff commission will take its ranking information.


Divisions I-VI will each feature 12-team brackets; Division VII will have six teams. Only league champions (and co-champions) will receive automatic bids with at-large teams selected according to their rankings.


DeBoard said the rankings will be based more on strength of schedule than margins of victory.


The four top-seeded teams in each of the six divisions will receive byes for the first round of the playoffs. That means the No. 5 seed will be paired with the No. 12 seed, the 6-seed with the 11-seed and so on. This rule was implemented to improve first-round competition. All teams must win at least four games to be playoff eligible.


The Delta, Sierra Foothill and Tri-City Athletic leagues are all Division I. The teams emerging as champions of either of these leagues will automatically be placed in Division I for the playoffs regardless of enrollment.


Champions in the lower-division leagues will be placed at or above their division. Teams with three consecutive section championships or four championships in a six-year span, will automatically be moved up one division.


DeBoard said the movement between divisions will be held to a minimum.


The football playoffs will begin Nov. 2, with the finals being played either Nov. 23 or Nov. 24. California State University, Sacramento could be the site for some finals, depending on the Hornets playoff possibilities. Lincoln High in Stockton and other locations are also being considered.


In other announcements, freshmen can play at the varsity level, but 14-year-olds must have a signed waiver to play.


Also voted in by section schools was to allow juniors to play at the junior varsity level. Freshmen are also eligible to play JV.


Although participation and playoff revenues dropped for football, DeBoard said the sport is still 40-45 percent of the section’s budget.


_ More CIF and section happenings in future Gold Country Media editions.