Orange County releaguing is starting over.

Which might be a massive waste of time.

County schools approved a two-piece releaguing plan in the spring that would be used for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years. Five Freeway League schools – Fullerton, La Habra, Sonora, Sunny Hills and Troy – appealed the plan’s approval to the CIF Southern Section’s Executive Committee. (Buena Park did not file an appeal, but did send to CIF-SS leadership a letter voicing its support of the other five schools’ appeal.) The Executive Committee, which is the CIF-SS administrative body, supported the appeal, thus remanding the issue back to Orange County schools to restart the process.

The releaguing plan’s two pieces that were approved by county schools included the creation of football-only leagues. That is, schools would be grouped into leagues specifically for football.

The other piece affected non-football sports and included the creation of three 15-school conferences and a 10-school conference. Leagues would be formed within those conferences, with league membership varying by sport.

That model exists this school year. In the Century Conference, for example, El Dorado is in the conference’s Crestview League for boys water polo but is in the conference’s North Hills League for football.

Each of the appeals by the Freeway Five included five points that they say prove that releaguing procedures, as mandated by the CIF-SS constitution and its by-laws, were not followed. The Freeway group appeal claimed that the three criteria for league placement – competitive equity, geographic proximity and school enrollments – were not properly evaluated when the conferences and leagues were created.

The restart of the process begins soon and must conclude by the December holiday break so that any appeals would have ample time to be heard by the CIF-SS Executive or the CIF-SS Council before the conclusion of this school year. Which means the potential for a third releaguing process exists.

All of the Freeway League schools are in the Fullerton Union High School District. That’s a great setup for many reasons, including transportation to and from athletic events. The releaguing plan approved this past spring included placing some current Freeway League schools in the 15-school Century Conference that would include Crean Lutheran, making it a 40-plus mile round trip for a competition. Currently, a La Habra vs. Sunny Hills competition is a round trip of around 9 miles.

Two results are likely to happen with the renewed releaguing process. One is that the Freeway League remains as is, with the conference concept still in play but with different memberships. The second is that the same releaguing plan approved this past spring gets approved again and that would be the massive waste of time for county principals and athletic directors who already have plenty of work to do.


Sophomore quarterback Cole Leinart has transferred from Mater Dei to Newport Harbor. Mater Dei is where his father, Matt Leinart, was an Orange County offensive player of the year before going on to USC, where he won the Heisman Trophy. Cole Leinart (6-4, 190), who threw only three passes this season as backup to All-County senior Elijah Brown, also is a good basketball player, as was his father at Mater Dei. …’

Newport Harbor’s starting quarterback is sophomore Jaden O’Neal (6-3, 190), who has completed 85 of 148 passes for 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns with six interceptions. When I covered Newport Harbor’s 33-28 home win over La Habra he looked good, completing 23 of 34 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns. He threw two interceptions, but that’s not a terrible thing for a sophomore playing against a good defensive team like La Habra. …

Tickets for the Servite-Mater Dei football game Friday at Santa Ana Stadium were still available at as of Thursday afternoon. The always-popular game will be live streamed at …

Saddleback plays its first varsity football game at its new on-campus stadium Friday at 7 p.m. It will be an Orange Coast League game against Costa Mesa. Perhaps the new 2,500-capacity stadium will help neighborhood football players decide to attend Saddleback instead of nearby Segerstrom, where Coach Joseph Tagaloa, a Saddleback alum, has a winning football program. …

Warren vs. Downey on Oct. 13 will be the first high school football game to be played at Sofi Stadium. CIF-SS assistant commissioner and section spokesman Thom Simmons said the CIF-SS football finals will not be played at SoFi this season. …

Mater Dei’s girls volleyball team is No. 1 in’s national rankings. The Monarchs, also No. 1 in the Orange County Top 10, swept county No. 7 Santa Margarita in a Trinity League match Tuesday. Mater Dei’s toughest league test might be Tuesday when the Monarchs play at county No. 4 JSerra. …

The Dana Hills Invitational cross country meet that was scheduled for Saturday has been canceled. According to Dana Hills cross country coach Craig Dunn and Dana Hills athletic director Tom Faris the meet was canceled because the city of Dana Point could not close off streets and offer its usual other support for the meet because the Ohana Festival multi-day music event is this weekend. The Dana Hills Invitational has been one of the top cross country meets in Orange County for 48 years. …

Dunn has assumed the duties of coaching the Dana Hills girls cross country team following the resignation last week of Olivia Hodges, who was in her first season coaching the Dolphins girls team. Dana Hills has the No. 1 teams in the CIF Southern Section boys and girls cross country rankings. …’s girls cross country national rankings have JSerra at No. 4, which is the highest for any California team. Buchanan of Clovis is ranked No. 5. JSerra and Buchanan are entered in the Clovis Invitational of Oct. 7, as is the San Clemente girls team. San Clemente’s boys cross country team is No. 12 and Beckman is No. 26 in the national rankings. …

High school soccer officials might boycott games or launch a strike this coming season. The issue is pay. The method for any CIF officials association to acquire a pay increase is to craft a proposal that would be voted upon by the CIF-SS Council, which lacrosse officials eventually figured out was the way to get the pay increase they sought and got last year. …

If high school officials association personnel are not available to work a contest CIF-SS by-laws allow for college intramural sports officials or, if both schools agree to it, a high school assistant coach could work a high school soccer game. High school sports parents would have no problem having the opposing team’s assistant coach officiate their child’s game, right?

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