Friday, November 6, 2009

2010 Tiering and Alignments

Greetings All,

BC High School Football is evolving at a rapid pace and as with all evolutionary change, there are winners and losers. Without some forsight and stewardship, a form of Football Darwinism sets in that at times rational,can and ought to be tweaked to provide the greatest good for the greatest number of programs.

At present we have a numbers based tiering system that is archaic (AA and AAA cut-off at 300 boys g. 11/12 dates back to pre-1995...yep over fifteen years ago)and is loosely applied (we keep finding exceptions to the numbers and granting "stays of execution" so-to-speak.)

I am going to forward the idea that the 300 mark for AA and AAA cutoff is too high and that the problems we are encountering will only worsten as a result.

Firstly, lets talk AAA ball as it currently exists. There are two definite tiers within the current group. There are the elite public schools with numbers exceeding 400 boys g. 11/12 (and very good coaches to accompany them) along with the Catholic schools with their tradition, alumni base and well established ratlines for players to follow to gain entry. These schools also have first rate coaching staffs with great continuity in terms of staff turnover. It is a winning combination and no slight to any of these afformentioned programs for their hard-work and program building prowness.

The second tier within AAA ball is window dressing to make the league seem like a more legitimate provincial entity when it is not. This window dressing is composed of public schools in the Interior and Lower Mainland that earnestly try, but, by virtue of a variety of factors from school size to geographic isolation, have not consistently demonstrated an ability to compete at the elite levels of AAA. In fact, none of them have made a Subway Bowl appearance (Hansen excepted) in over two decades! Quite frankly, it is pretentious to think of this as a uniform group of teams in a homogenous tier.

At the other end of our current tiering system there is Tier 2. As a stop gap attempt to ressucitate faltering programs and eliminate the impact of bye games due to folding/plain old chickening out of a tough match, this tier was created. Also it was a great way to ease an entirely new conference (North) into existence. The problem now with tier 2 is as follows: It is uneven and will become more uneven as teams attempting to escape their proper numbers tier arrive and hybernate. Worse yet, if the present trend of this tier growing in numbers of programs continues, we will in effect be running a expanding and essentially community football league within our ranks in the guise of HS ball. Worst of all, BCSSFA could wind-up forming a financial addiction to the league fees gathered from this expanding group and then begin to conciously or sub-conciously make decisions based on dollars as opposed to reason. Tier 2 is a good idea but it should be strictly limited in terms of its scope. A short term HS Football triage/recovery center would be a good description.

This year, at AA, the league almost got it right. There were many competitive games (but not enough) in a league that was fairly balanced. I would advocate that with a further adjustment in 2010 we will arrive at a very good model for BC High School Football to follow into the next decade.

What Follows is "The Gridiron Paper"

Football Schools and 2009/10 numbers of Boys G. 11 and 12

1. Kelowna 565
2. New Westminster 564
3. Mt. Boucherie 516
4. Rutland 492
5. Terry Fox 490
6. Belmont 483
7. Centennial 478
8. WJ Mouat 403
9. Pinetree 396
10. West Vancouver 371
11. Penticton 368
12. Earl Marriot 365
13. Salmon Arm 359
14. Prince George 357
15. Mt. Baker 354
16. Langley 351
17. Correlieu 345
18. Abbottsford Collegiate 326
19. GP Vanier 325
20. South Kamloops 322
21. Burnaby Central 322
22. Vancouver College 320
23. Lord Tweedsmuir 319
24. Carson Graham 319
25. Moscrop 298
26. Handsworth 278
27. Seaquam 278
28. Howe Sound 273
29. Mount Douglas 269
30. South Delta 263
31. Rick Hansen 261
32. Frank Hurt 261
33. Timberline 259
34. Ballenas 256
35. Kelley Road 241
36. Nanaimo District 236
37. Pitt Meadows 230
38. Mission 222
39. Windsor 215
40. Hugh Boyd 214
41. Vernon 212
42. Okanagen Mission 205
43. Clarence Fulton 197
44. Gulf Islands 189
45. Dutchess Park 185
46. Mark Isfeld 184
47. Sands 179
48. College Heights 178
49. Edward Milne 170
50. Holy Cross 163
51. W.L. Seaton 159
52. Kalmalka 157
53. John Barsby 153
54. Valleyview 149
55. Westsyde 146
56. Nechako Valley 135
57. St. Thomas More 127
58. Notre Dame 114





AAAA (Catholic Schools and Elite Public Schools)

Vancouver College
Notre Dame
St. Thomas More
Centennial
Terry Fox
New Westminster
WJ Mouat
Holy Cross

AAA (261 and up)

Interior

Kelowna
Rutland
Mt. Boucherie
Salmon Arm
South Kamloops

Valley

Lord Tweedsmuir
Rick Hansen
Earl Marriot
Mt. Douglas
Belmont
South Delta
Abbottsford Collegiate

Coast

Carson Graham
Handsworth
West Vancouver
Seaquam
Pinetree
Langley
G.P. Vanier (Home Heavy Schedule to balance travel)
Howe Sound

AA (260 Boys G. 11/12)

North

Prince George
Correlieu
Kelley Road
College Heights
Dutchess Park
Nechako Valley

** PG and Correlieu: top record goes to Interior Wildcard AAA game.

Interior

Okanagen Mission
Clarence Fulton
Vernon
Valleyview
Norkam
WL Seaton
Kalmalka
Westsyde


Coast

Ballenas
John Barsby
Windsor
Sands
Timberline
Hugh Boyd
Mission
Pitt Meadows


Tier 2

Coast

Nanaimo District
EJ Milne
Mark Isfeld
Gulf Islands
Moscrop
Burnaby Central
Frank Hurt
Plus expansion teams

Interior Exhibition Squads
Penticton
Mt. Baker


Looking at this alignment you can see that the competitive and geographic balance is superb. You can also see that there is room to add programs as they enter the league as well as a Tier 2 safety valve that is functional for those in crisis.

The AAA group will now have a competitive playoff and a realistic opportunity to play great, meaningful league and playoff contests while the elite can play at the games widely acknowledged and celebrated pinnacle. AA ball will feature teams with a narrower spectrum of school enrollments as well with superb competitive balance. Lastly, AA will not be fussing about "AAA dropdowns" and in fact there will be way less of a stimulus for these "dropdowns" to occur as AAA will be so inclusive and competitive. Tier 2 will not be a lure either as all the leagues will be competitive.

This is the way to go folks. The current system is very flawed and has alignments that are out of touch with the idea of real competition. Time for new thinking!

5 comments:

Jeffrey said...

I like your conscept but I think that place Mt Doug and Belmont in a Valley conference will break the bank in travel costs. It's bad enough having to pay for the ferry but to add a drive out to Abottsford

Anonymous said...

RE THE KAMLOOPS SCHOOLS.SCHOOL REALIGNMENT WILL HAPPEN BECAUSE OF FALLING ENROLLMENT.SO THINGS WILL CHANGE.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing this blog. I do enjoy reading it each week; however, there are a couple spelling errors in the school names which I'd like to point out to you. Okanagan is spelled like this, not Okanagen. Also, it's Kalamalka not Kalmalka. Otherwise, keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

Some of those schools with 260+ Gr11/12 boys just don't have much interest in football. I think the system should be based upon interest in football as the whole community, their past history, and as well as the number of boys in 11/12.

But I do agree that some teams in AA and Tier II are horribly misplaced.

Anonymous said...

AMEN, GRIDIRON!!! THIS ENTIRE ASSOCIATION IS LONG OVERDUE FOR RE-ALIGNMENT. IS THERE ANY OTHER PROVINCE, OR STATE FOR THAT MATTER, WHERE TEAMS COMPETE FOR CHAMPIONSHIPS AGAINST OTHER TEAMS THAT ARE 2X THEIR SIZE??? HOW IS THIS A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD??? MY RECCOMENDATION IS THIS: AAA-350 AND ABOVE AA-251-349 AND A (THAT'S RIGHT, A) UP TO 250 OR THIS: AAA-300 AND ABOVE/ AA 200-299/ A UNDER 200... SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE, THOUGH...