New SoCal JC Football Conferences

Recently, I had the pleasure of corresponding with Jim Sartoris, the newly appointed Commissioner of the Southern California Football Association. Jim has been a long time fixture in Junior College football. He was an All American QB for the Glendale Vaqueros in 1962, receiving a scholarship to play at the University of Washington.

He returned to become an assistant coach at Glendale shortly thereafter, and has worn many hats over his 40 plus years as a coach, an Athletic Director, and an Instructor. As the head coach, his record at Glendale was an impressive 111-63-1. The football stadium was named in his honor about 3 years ago. His behind the scenes work for his school as well as all California Junior Colleges is legendary. Jim is well respected across the state for his views on Coaches Ethics and is a great conduit between the Coaches, the Administrations, and the COA. He was the most logical choice to become the Commissioner. The following is a short Q&A concerning the initiation of the new football association.

How did the SCFA form?

The CCCFCA (football coaches association) formed a committee to investigate the possibility of forming an association of community colleges in southern California, following the model of the northern California association, about two years ago. This committee was comprised of representatives from each of the existing football conferences in Southern California, (the Mission conference, the Western State Football Conference and the Foothill Conference.) After a number of meetings, it was decided to move forward and seek approval of all Southern California community college presidents to basically re-conference into an association. Following the process set forth in COA Constitution, each president of the 37 community colleges offering intercollegiate football in the south was asked for their approval. After significant discussion and after hearing input from various athletic entities, like the athletic directors association, the individual conferences, and the Management Council, and accepting the approval forms from the college presidents, the COA Board voted to approve the formation of the Southern California Football Association at the April 2007 Board Meeting. An implementation committee was formed consisting of Athletic Directors and football coaches from each conference to develop a constitution, bylaws and supplements, as well as restructuring the 37 colleges into two divisions, with each division being divided into separate conferences. The committee put together a football schedule for the 2008 season and hired a Commissioner, Treasurer, SID, and Director of Football Operations. The target date for the SCFA to begin operation was July 1, 2008.

Was the intent of the new conference alignment to create more parity in each conference?

One of the goals stated in the SCFA Constitution is: To bring uniformity, strength and competitive balance to Southern California community college football; Therefore the colleges were divided first into two divisions, using various criteria such as recent win loss records, competitive history, size of school, etc. and then separated into conferences using primarily geography.

Do the coaches collectively feel that this system will take any politicking out of the selection for the 8 playoff teams?

One of the advantages to the playoff system that was agreed to is that colleges will earn their place into the playoffs on the field. The first and second place conference finishers in the National conferences and the first place finisher in the American conferences qualify to the 8 team playoff tournament. No polls are used.

Do the coaches still feel there is a disadvantage to the SoCal reps because of the extra two games needed to reach the State final?

Colleges were polled asking their preference to either an 8 team or 4 team playoff format. The result of the survey was split about 50/50. I am sure there is concern by many that the south plays an extended playoff to send a team to the state championship game and the north plays only one game to determine their representative to the state game. I believe the hope is that some day an equitable format will be used with both the North and the South using the same system.

Were there any teams that fought this realignment (you don't have to name teams)?

The approval/disapproval forms (COA Form M) that were submitted to the COA Board were: 34 in favor and 3 not in favor.

In this reporter's opinion, the new format is yet another step forward for Southern California Juco football. This format takes opinion out of the equation when playoff teams are selected. It also will take away many of the mismatches that have been occurring for quite some time now. Teams will now vie with comparable teams in their own conference, yet still have a way to make it all the way to the State final. I think that Nirvana is not here yet, but when and if both sides of the State have the same format, it will be as close as we can get. Some old rivalries may be missed, but because geography was put into the equation for conference selection, some new and more natural rivalries will begin.

Deserved kudos to the coaches for their progressiveness, and many thanks to Jim for taking the time to explain the new Conference alignments to our readers.

Check out the new SCFA website

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