Competitive Anomaly Status

There's a new phrase in town to remember if you're a fan of high school sports. If a program at your school gets too successful, it could be officially declared a "competitive anomaly."

Being a competitive anomaly at first sounds bad. The term almost makes you think it's a sickness diagnosed by a physician that needs to be cured.

Only schools in the CIF North Coast Section can apply to be declared a competitive anomaly and, last week, Berkeley High's girls basketball team became the first to be granted the status.

Here's how the bylaw works: 1. An application comes from the league through an action initiated by the school. 2. Once competitive anomaly status is given, the particular program at the school only has to face each team in its league once (or just five games for a football team), thereby allowing that program the opportunity to schedule more ambitiously outside the section.

Berkeley's girls have gone 59-1 in league games over the last five seasons, the last four of which have been in the Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League. The Yellowjackets, last season's section and NorCal Div. I champions, have rarely even had to break a sweat in ACCAL games.

"This allows Berkeley to challenge itself with a broader range of competition," CIF NCS commissioner Tom Ehrhorn told the Contra Costa Times. "The benefit (to Berkeley) is that it gives them an opportunity to test themselves against more quality teams. They hope that it will allow them to develop into a stronger team.

"The benefit to the league is that this provides some relief to the other teams in the league. Teams that are trying to develop a program don't have to face a team like Berkeley more than once. We think it's a win for both sides."

There really aren't that many other girls basketball programs in the state that would qualify for similar status if such a bylaw were in effect in their sections. But three that do come to mind are Narbonne of Harbor City (L.A. City), Brea-Olinda of Brea (Southern) and Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo (Central).

The bylaw in the NCS evolved from an arrangement that was made by the Bay Valley Athletic League and De La Salle of Concord in the sport of football. De La Salle has not been eligible to win a league title since 1997, but the league supplies the Spartans with five opponents to fill out their schedule. De La Salle football has not been officially declared a competitive anomaly under the new bylaw, but that's only because its agreement with the BVAL was finalized before the current NCS bylaw was put into effect.

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