The CIF State Open Division Championship Bowl Game just got a lot easier to figure out following an announcement by the CIF State Office on Monday that the bowl game will return to its original format and philosophy.
This postseason, the best school from the North Region and best school from the South Region, as determined by the selection committee, will be chosen and automatically advance to the CIF State Championship Open Division Bowl Game and will have a bye during Regional Bowl Game play.
This return to the original format began with the CIF Football Advisory Committee at its April 2014 meeting and was also unanimously supported by the 10 CIF Section Commissioners at their summer 2014 meeting along with the CIF Executive Committee.
"Following two years of the expanded Open Division Football Regional Bowl Championships, the votes by both the football coaches' advisory committee and the 10 Section commissioners indicated the strong desire to return the Open Division Football Bowl Game to its original format," stated Roger L. Blake, CIF Executive Director. "As with all State Championship events, each year there is always a thorough review by various committees. Modifications are forwarded when there is a majority that believes the changes will better serve our membership and their students."
Divisions I-IV for the CIF Regional Championship Bowl Games will continue to be selected during CIF Selection Sunday by the selection committee.
Sacred Heart Prep reached the Division III state finals last season, losing to Corona del Mar, 27-15.
This year, Selection Sunday will be on December 7. Regional Championship Bowl Games for Divisions I-IV will take place December 12-13, at various locations throughout the state and the State Championship Bowl Games for Open and Divisions I-IV will be held December 19-20, at the StubHub Center in Carson.
Meanwhile, high school sports participation continues to increase in California and is at an all-time high for the second consecutive year according to the 2014 CIF Sports Participation Survey. Up by 0.64% since the previous survey in 2013, 763,306 student-athletes are competing in California high school athletic programs.
"With CIF celebrating its 100th anniversary it seems only appropriate that education based athletics participation in California is at an all-time high," stated Blake. "The high school athletic experience continues to serve as an extension of the classroom creating additional learning opportunities for all involved."
Along with the overall participation increase in high school athletics there were a few sports that saw noticeable increases across both genders. Lacrosse saw the largest percentage increase, a combined 3.9 percent or 580 more participants (5.3 percentor 303 increase for girls; 3.2 percent or 277 increase for boys), followed by cross country with a 2.3 percent increase or 1,234 more participants (3.4 percent or 830 increase for girls; 1.4 percent or 404 increase for boys). Soccer also increased participation by 1.4 percent or 1,241 student-athletes (1.2 percent or 538 increase for girls; 1.5 percent or 703 increase for boys).
Football continues to lead the top 10 boys' sports with 103,464 participants, which increased by 0.93 percent since 2013. Track and field (54,062) is the second most popular sport followed by soccer (48,564), which increased participation by 1.47 percent since 2013; basketball (44,097) and baseball (43,482) round out the top five boys' sports.
For girls, track and field continues reign as the top 10 sport with 44,567 participants, which increased by 0.83 percent since 2013. Soccer still trails a close second (43,820), which increased participation by 1.24 percent since 2013, followed by volleyball (40,751), basketball (33,443) and softball (32,238).
The CIF's 1,540 member schools participated in the survey as part of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) nationwide survey that measures the number of students competing in sports in the country.