Starting in the fall, all of the schools that formerly made up the PAC 8 and the Los Padres League (LPL) (except Santa Ynez, Lompoc, and Cabrillo) will be leaving the CIF Southern Section and joining the Central Section. With the new section comes new rules and new wrinkles and the Paso Robles Press and Atascadero News have all the information you needed to get you acquainted with the new section:
TWO NEW LEAGUES
The LPL and PAC 8 are disappearing as a result of the move from the Southern Section to the Central Section and in their place, two new leagues have been created — the Mountain League and the Coastal League — and they will make up the Central Coast Athletic Conference (CCAC). These two leagues differ in one main way: they have been organized to create two competitive leagues based on the specific sports in each season. This means that in certain sports, Templeton will be playing in the Mountain League with schools formerly of the PAC 8, and conversely, Atascadero will be playing against teams formerly in the LPL.
For the most part, the leagues will look exactly the same with little changing. Atascadero and Paso Robles will play all of their fall sports in the Mountain League but will be joined by the Templeton Eagles in girls volleyball. Every school in the Central Coast Athletic Conference will have the right to appeal after one year if they believe they should be in the other league.
For the first time next year, we will have meaningful league games with the Templeton Eagles playing either the Greyhounds or the Bearcats. Next year, Templeton will join Atascadero and Paso Robles in the Mountain League for four sports: women's volleyball, boys tennis, and, fresh off of winning the LPL in both, baseball and softball.
The Greyhounds will start their tenure in the CCAC with four teams playing in the Ocean League starting with men's soccer and both men and women's basketball in the winter, and men's tennis in the spring. The Bearcats will play in the Mountain League in all of their sports next year.
NEW CONFERENCE RULES
The Central Section does some things a little differently than the Southern Section did in terms of playoffs and even the positioning of certain sports. For example, starting next year, both men's and women's water polo will be playing in the fall. In the Southern Section, girls water polo was played in the winter while men were played in the fall.
The Southern Section also granted automatic playoff bids to the winner of each league and an additional number of teams depending on the size of the league. There are no automatic bids in the Central Section, at the end of each season teams must decide if they want or are deserving of going to the playoffs and can submit their entry. Central Section playoffs are also based off of competitive equity, meaning that the enrollment sizes of the schools aren’t the main factor in determining which schools are in the higher division, it’s the competition. Because of this, the higher seed is always the home team, even if a lower-seeded team defeats an upper seed, they will still be on the road if they play a higher ranked team in the next round.
The main appeal of switch conferences came with the reduced travel. At times, schools from the North County would have anywhere from four to six-hour-long bus rides to Southern California for playoff games, But starting next year the longest a team would have to travel would be close to two and a half hours. The Central Section is also much smaller than the Southern Section and has only 115 teams, while the Southern Section has more than 500.