Every two years Orange County high schools reconfigure their sports leagues.

The changes usually are minor. Two or three schools moving to different leagues is most often the result of the “releaguing” process.

In the early 1990s Mater Dei, Santa Margarita and the Servite/Rosary boys/girls tandem joined public school leagues in a foolish and short-lived experiment. That was the biggest releaguing move of the past half-century until now.

Orange County principals this past Monday approved two radical proposals that would be in effect for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years if they are approved by the CIF Southern Section Council, the section’s legislative body made up of representatives from all of the section’s leagues, on Sept. 28, the council’s first meeting of the 2023-24 school year.

One proposal would create football-only leagues. That is, school football teams are grouped together specifically for football.

The other proposal would move schools all over the place, likely breaking up longtime league affiliations and impacting local rivalries.

Both plans have good and bad angles to them.

The football-only creation would group teams into leagues based upon their previous two years’ worth of performance, using the CalPreps.com ratings system. The most recent year would be worth 65 percent of a team’s rating, with the previous year worth 35 percent.

Important to know here is that the Trinity League, made up of JSerra, Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran, St. John Bosco, Santa Margarita and Servite, would remain unchanged for football and would not be part of this.

The top football-only league would contain four teams. The next 10 leagues would have six teams each and the 11th league would have five teams. If this format was in place for the 2023 football season in the fall, and if we have the math right, that four-team league would be Mission Viejo, Los Alamitos, Edison and Yorba Linda.

And there could be two large problems with that.

One would be that a team in a four-team league is going to have a difficult time finding opponents for its seven nonleague games, because just about everyone else is playing league games and would not be available for a nonleague game.

The other problem would be that only the top two teams in a four-team league are guaranteed playoff berths. So the Nos. 3 and 4 teams in that tough four-team league might not make the playoffs, even though both teams almost certainly would be Orange County Top 10 teams.

The other passed proposal Monday would break up all sorts of leagues and place teams in large conferences. One of those large conferences would be a 15-school Golden Empire Conference that takes schools currently residing in the Empire, Freeway, Golden West, Orange Coast and Pacific Coast leagues.

That could mean some long bus rides. A possible league game that would send Buena Park to Laguna Hills, or the other way around, is not an easy trek.

And there would be the extinction of longtime rivalries, which irks veteran coaches like Mike Murphy, Sonora’s boys basketball coach since the early ‘90s. He called to register his displeasure. Before I got the chance to say “Hello” Murphy said, “What are we doing?!?”

“When we play La Habra at their place or ours, the place is packed,” Murphy added.

So expect some appeals to be sent to the CIF-SS Executive Committee, the administrative body of the CIF Southern Section, which could hear from …

Beckman. Beckman would be tossed into the Coastview Conference with South County schools like Capistrano Valley, Mission Viejo, etc.

Freeway League schools like La Habra, Sonora, Sunny Hills and Troy. These Fullerton Union High School District Schools enjoy the ease and convenience of being in a single-district league. As for the rivalries, those schools could schedule each other for nonleague games but those games are far more intense and meaningful when a league championship is at stake.

Irvine schools like Irvine and Northwood. They might not welcome private schools Rosary, Sage Hill and St. Margaret’s that would be placed in their group. That’s right, Rosary would be out of the Trinity League and sent to the Pacific Coast Conference. (Rosary athletic director Tom Tice said his school should be OK with the move.)

If the CIF-SS Executive Committee, the administrative body of the CIF Southern Section, agrees that any or all appeals have merit, it could require the releaguing process to resume before proposals would ultimately get sent along to to the CIF-SS Council for final approval.

And this would continue to be interesting even at that juncture.

CIF-SS Council people representing schools in Ventura or San Bernardino counties or elsewhere don’t understand the problems of Orange County schools. They look at a map and see that Mission Viejo and Laguna Hills and Laguna Beach high schools are very close to each other but they don’t understand, or are not interested in, the massive differences among those three. Maybe they don’t know that a southbound drive down Laguna Canyon Road is not a quick cruise.

Sometimes at these CIF-SS Council meetings the non-Orange County representatives seem to think we’re all a bunch of spoiled loonies in “The OC” and really don’t want to listen to what the very real challenges are over here.

We will find out about what appeals might come forth in coming weeks and months – appeals must be filed 14 days before the CIF-SS Executive Committee’s meeting on Sept. 21.

Credit Orange County principals for getting creative and experimental. But the thinking here is they probably should keep those lab coats and test tubes handy come September, as they might have some more work to do.

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