Commissioner talks rule changes and other topics
KINGSBURG — California Interscholastic Federation Central Section Commissioner Ryan Tos talked to the media last week about various topics, including rule changes that will be implemented this year.
One of the changes Tos talked about to the media at Kingsburg High School on August 3 was about playoff forfeits or withdrawals after playoff brackets are formed.
“We put in language that said if a school forfeits or withdraws from the playoffs after the brackets are put out, they could be removed from future playoffs,” he said. “Now that we don’t know what division we are going to be in, if someone gets a low seed, they may not want to play. Basically, once you commit, you are in.”
He also gave note about a two-week dead period over the summer rather than a couple ewes before the season started.
“All they could do was run or condition, but not sport-specific activity. Instead of the two weeks before the season, but sometime in the summer, they have to take a two week break,” he said. “Next year, it will be a school-wide two week break. It will let everyone refresh. It will allow families to take a vacation. It will also allow them to build up to the season.”
However, the biggest change came to the playoff system where teams must have at least a .300 winning percentage to qualify for the Central Section playoffs.
“We think that’s a good first step to bring value to the regular season,” he said.
There were other new changes he talked about, including how the playoff profits will be split, how many leagues must there be for a Central Section Championship and protocol for reporting infractions.
“Out of the net revenues gained, previously, 60 percent was divided evenly between the two schools,” he said. “The section received 40 percent. It is changed to where the section still receives 40 percent. The home team receives 40 percent and the visiting team receives 20 percent. It gets harder and harder to host a game. That school should get a little more. There’s a minimum of three leagues to be considered for a Central Section championship. We added language that says the first step is to notify the school about infractions. Sometimes our schools are hesitant to communicate. If there is a violation, then it comes to our office. There’s a lot of heresy or rumors out there.”
Tos has also enforced sportsmanship and each school must submit a contract of what they intend to do to reinforce sportsmanship.
Tos also said the Central Section will remain with the base-division set-up for playoffs. Basically, a school will be put into a base division at the beginning of the season. When the playoff are selected, a school may only go up or down one division from their base.
“It was better, but not perfect by any means,” he said. “Everyone is trying to figure out the perfect way to do this, but I don’t think it exists.”
Tos also announced that there will be three sports that will play a neutral site Central Section championship game — water polo at Fresno State, boys and girls basketball at Fresno’s Selland Arena and baseball and softball at neutral sites, but have not been announced where. Girls volleyball championships was also played at a neutral site, but it will be played at home school sites this year.
“Volleyball added a sixth division,” Tos said. “We aren’t playing six matches in one day. We can’t do it on Friday and Saturday because of football. We tried a Thursday game, but it was hard. It’s something that can change from year-to-year.”
Tos showed the media where the literal transfer portal was on the Central Section’s website (cifcs.org) and wants to be transparent about the process.
“There are some misperceptions about which schools have the most transfers,” he said. “When you go into a deep dive, the schools you think get a lot of transfers, don’t. Some schools are worse. We want to make sure that information is out there and available. The rush is coming. Everyone wants their transfers for the first football game. it’s not necessarily us, but it’s the other schools responding.”
Tos said that 90 percent of transfer cases are clear, but it’s that 10 percent that needs more clarification or information to make a legitimate ruling that will take up time.
“It’s not easy on the kids to transfer at any time,” he said. “Making a change in the middle of the high school is challenging. We understand people think what is best for them or their children.”
Funding for the Central Section comes in three ways — 50 percent from ticket sales, 25 percent from school dues and 25 percent from sponsorships.
“The last two years were rough years in ticket sales,” Tos said. “We were left in good shape, financially. We had reserves.”
Last year, the Central Section was able to give $700,000 back to the schools as a result of a profit sharing system.
The Central Section also adopted the GoFan app as it’s main ticket-entry system.
“We allow our schools, if they want, to accept money at the gate. Some districts don’t take cash at all. The GoFan sponsorships are very beneficial. The section dues haven’t risen in almost 20 years. We don’t see any need to raise ticket prices because of some of these other income we get. We are going to try to keep out costs down as much as we can.
“The full cost of every ticket comes to us. GoFan has a service fee and that’s their business model. It is a statewide contract. At the end of each year, we get a kickback on the number of tickets we sold. The No. 1 corporate partner last year was GoFan and it dwarfed everyone else. We outperformed a lot of sections with incorporating GoFan. We will see how it evolves. Ninety percent of our playoff income was through GoFan, so 10 percent was cash.”
In addition to hosting the playoffs and celebrating a Central Section championship, the Central Section also hosts a few other programs like foundation games, scholarships, model coach program, an honors dinner, academic team champions and a Women in Sport Conference.
“Each school in every sport is allowed to host a foundation game, which is a free additional contact, except for football. They pay us a fee and get to play an extra game. All the money from those games goes to student/athlete scholarships,” Tos said. “The Honors dinner is a night where we celebrate any athletic director or coaches that received an award in the past year. Those are the people that don’t want a lot of attention. They are much more comfortable in the background. Any money we make in the event goest to the student/athlete scholarships.”