Major changes coming to athletics

Sac Joaquin Section passes sweeping rule changes that will affect RHS teams


(RACHEL BARBER/EYE OF THE TIGER) Junior quarterback Alex Nichols scrambles out of the pocket against Rio Linda. While RHS missed the playoffs last year, in the previous two years the team has advanced to playoffs, it has been courtesy of an automatic bid for finishing second in the CVC. League champions are now the only team that will receive an automatic bid.

SOCCER: Two years ago, the SJS ruled that both girls and boys soccer would be played in the winter in order to have all high school soccer seasons consistent throughout California. Before that, boys soccer played in the fall, and girls in the spring. This restricted boys soccer players from playing sports such as football or cross country, and girls soccer players from playing track and field or swimming.

Although the change to winter forced athletes to choose between basketball or soccer, it added roughy 100 athletes to winter sports and allowed teams to possibly qualify for the Northern California tournament. Last year, the season switch to winter occurred, and many were disappointed by it because of the severe weather that the teams experienced. This led to many games either being rescheduled or played in the rain.


Sophomore Alyssa Granno attempts to control a pass during an RHS winter game last year. RHS now has the ability to choose which season to play soccer, but it is unlikely it will move to the spring.

This year, boys and girls soccer games were moved onto the same night in order to give more time for rescheduled games. After this past season, smaller schools and schools in the foothills united and proposed that each school should be able to choose if they want their soccer seasons to stay the same, or switch back to boys in the fall and girls in the spring.

At the conference, this rule passed and each individual school in the section now has to make a decision by May 1. After each school submits their choice, the SJS has to rearrange leagues based off of who decided to switch to fall/spring, and who chose to stay in the winter.

This could potentially change the Central Valley Conference and force Roseville soccer teams to have different leagues. According to assistant commisioner of the SJS Will DeBoard, most schools choosing to go fall/spring are smaller schools who don’t have a football program yet have a basketball program, so their two main sports were played at the same time.

“The smaller schools felt very passionately that the switch to play for the NorCal championships wasn’t worth it since they had less athletes for both basketball and soccer,” DeBoard said. “They typically didn’t have a lot of athletes and moving them to the same time took away even more.”

Varsity girls soccer coach Paul Stewart was against this change and felt that if schools choose different seasons to play, it hurts players on competitive teams whose school chooses to switch seasons.

“Currently, club teams get a break during the winter then return over spring, and it gives them time to relax over high school then return,” Stewart said. “But this year if a player’s schools goes to the spring and the rest of his or her club teammates don’t, they can’t play soccer for four months and have to choose between club or high school.”

Stewart went on to say that because only a few amount of teams will likely switch back to the fall and spring, it will limit the competition in both seasons.

“I just don’t think there’s enough teams to make up a spring league and a winter league for girls,” Stewart said. “I think if the schools would just let this run for 3-5 years it will turn out fine.”
According to Stewart, it is highly unlikely that Roseville will be switching its soccer seasons to fall/spring, even if other schools in the CVC choose to do so.


FOOTBALL: Football will experience significant changes to the section playoff brackets next year. In order to qualify for playoffs, the only team guaranteed to move on will be the league champions, and the rest of the spots will be filled based on computer rankings.

While this could help teams who struggled in league yet were ranked well, it could also hurt teams who performed well in league but lacked strong computer rankings. According to varsity linebacker Jordan Susbilla, past Roseville teams were able to make it to playoffs because of their league ranking, yet without their playoff berth from finishing well, they may not have had the same opportunities.

“The last time the team made playoffs was two years ago because we finished second,” Susbilla said. “Without that, who knows if another team who was ranked better than us would have made it instead.”

Currently, the different football bracket sizes vary between divisions– divisions 4,5, and 6 have 8 teams in playoffs, while divisions 1,2, and 3 have 16 teams in playoffs. Next year, every division will have 12 team brackets for playoffs. In addition to making all playoff brackets the same size, the first through fourth seeded teams will get byes during the first round. DeBoard believes that this could create more competitive playoff games for all teams.


“The reason we went this way is do that when you have those one seeds playing the sixteen seeds, they’re typically not close games,” DeBoard said. “We hope this stops those really lopsided scores in the first round from happening.”

Junior Ben Baker is glad this was passed, being that it helps the teams seeded well, and gives lower seeded teams more of an opportunity to go farther.

“The high seeded teams getting a bye actually rewards them for doing well during league,” Baker said. “Now the lower seeded teams can actually play in a competitive game and possibly work up to playing the better teams.”

Another new rule changes how games will played out in overtime. Last year if the regular game play ended in a tie, teams started at the 10 yard line and then got four downs to score. Next year teams will start from the 25 yard line. DeBoard felt that while limiting the differences between college and high school, it could better help those moving forward.

“The NCAA starts their football games at the 25 yard line so we wanted to make it more like how they play at the collegiate level,” DeBoard said. “For those players who want to play in college, it makes them better prepared.”


JUNIOR VARSITY: Previously, Eye of the Tiger reported on the potential of a new rule with juniors being allowed on the junior varsity teams, and the freshman team becoming a freshman-sophomore team. At the SJS conference, this rule passed 47 to 11. Compared to other sections in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), the SJS was one of very few sections that didn’t follow this system of arranging teams.


This year, the SJS consists of teams with the second level being sophomores and freshman, and the third level being only freshman. Next year, coaches at Roseville will have to choose if they want to allow juniors on their JV team and help prepare them to play varsity their senior year, or cut them and potentially end their sports career at RHS. According to Stewart, he is unsure over whether or not he will have his JV and freshman coaches allow sophomores on their freshman team and juniors on their JV team, yet will evaluate each player individually.

“I’ll have to see how the numbers turn out next year and make my decision then,” Stewart said. “But for those who have skill yet aren’t ready for varsity just quite yet, it could help me keep them in the program and then I can reevaluate them the following year.”

BASKETBALL: Last year the section set the basketball playoffs by granting berths to the first, second and third place finishers in each league. They then seeded those schools based off of school size and their success during league. If a team finished ranked in the top 12 in their division in MaxPreps but didn’t finish well in their league, they still revived the playoff berth.

At the SJS conference, however, the sections decided that rather than teams ranked above twelth advancing to playoffs, it is now going to be teams ranked above fifteenth in their division; this now means more teams to continue on to playoffs. Junior Bernie Graves believes that since playoff spots aren’t going to be determined just by how a team finishes in league, it opens opportunities for teams who played well outside their league.

“This could help teams a lot who struggle in their league,” Graves said. “Sometimes teams play schools outside their league and do well which helps their rankings in their division, but not their league.”