The nonsensical, infuriating California Interscholastic Foundation

No one in California seems to understand the governing body that regulates prep athletics from border to border. In fact, the CIF drives coaches, players and involved families and friends mad every year.

For one thing, it’s the playoff seedings. They never make sense. Teams will find themselves seeded lower than teams they’ve beaten, and then stuck in brackets with egregious mismatches. Several that have gone down this playoff season come to mind.

Then there’s the whole “Southern Cal vs. Northern Cal” thing. The champs of each side of the state always play one another for the title. Until last year, when St. Mary’s of Stockton won Division III, Southern Cal teams usually won because the talent was so much more stacked on that side of the state. A SoCal team would get to the state match and it would be a lopsided, anti-climactic downer. Why not mix up the teams where the best just play the best, regardless of what side of the state they live on?

Another issue: there are also the games that are played at certain times that seem suspicious, as if the CIF is just putting them there to make the most money possible. Then you have the fact that they added an extra round to the playoffs this year, and you have your answer: it is indeed all about the money.

Last year the California state championships were played at this time – the third weekend in March. This year, due to the extra round added, they’ll be played next weekend. That means that high school players in California that go even to the second round of the playoffs have already played longer than most high school teams, junior colleges and thousands of college teams around the country. That’s ridiculous, especially considering that most girls now start playing for their club teams this month.

The CIF sucks.

That said, I found some preview pieces for tomorrow’s state semifinal matchups, in honor of the young athletes that will play in them.

In a rematch of last year’s SoCal Division I semi, it’ll be Mater Dei vs. defending state champs Brea Olinda. Preview capsule. Neither team let major injuries stop them. Brea’s Kelsey Harris always wanted to be a Ladycat.

In SoCal Division III, it’s Bishop Amat versus last year’s winner Inglewood, lead by power forward DeAjanae Scurry. Last week the ranked forward/center put up 35 points and pulled down 15 points for her team. If the Sentinels prevail tomorrow and NorCal’s St. Mary’s wins their game, it will be a rematch of last year’s state championship game between the two teams.

Neither Long Beach or Fresno papers had anything today on the SoCal Division I game between defending champs Long Beach Poly and Clovis West (maybe they’re waiting until tomorrow morning). But there was this from CW’s victory last weekend. I hope they can give Poly a run for their money, but I wouldn’t necessarily bet on it.


  1. Very interesting stuff to think about.

    I am actually a CIF alum (DV baby!) and we did make it to the state tournament after the city and NorCal tournament.

    To this day, I have no idea how the seedings worked (we ended up seeded lower than the team we beat in the city tourney).

    The only thing I could hypothetically imagine is minimizing travel, but that doesn't make sense because in a state like CA, someone is going to travel 4-8 hours no matter how you split it up…

    I never really thought about it until reading this post… so thanks (for nothing) 😉

  2. OOO, you just proved my point, homey! "I have no idea how the seedings worked…."

    THAT'S THE PROBLEM. No one understands them but the CIF. It would be really cool if they'd clue the rest of us in on how they choose and seed. At least with the NCAA you understand where they're coming from.

    The CIF defintely doesn't care about traveling distance. The boys at one school I know had to travel four hours north one week and three hours south the next. The opponents for the girls at that school came from central Cali to play them.

    It's maddening.

  3. Excellent post – noone knows what goes on because CIF has things like "enrollment will be determined by section" for D 1, 2, 3 so in essence they can change it every year to manipulate where the socalled top teams play to win paper titles instead of using it like you say to provide a true tournament of the best play the best.
    Then the traveling is rediculous, for any travel over 3 hours it should be meet half way, this is high school bball and kids should not be away from school for 2 days, and have to travel into a hostile situation for one game.