High School Sports

New CIF-Southern Section fall playoff divisions shakes up San Luis Obispo County schools


When high school sports playoffs kick off this fall, there will be a lot of teams with new homes.

The CIF-Southern Section, the governing body of high school athletics for all the schools in San Luis Obispo County and the most powerful section in the state, announced new playoff format for fall sports, including football, girls tennis, girls volleyball and boys water polo.

The reshuffling is a result of the CIF-SS’s new competitive equity model introduced last year by Commissioner Rob Wigod. The new model, approved by a 74-10 vote in January, is based on a power-rankings system that takes into account factors like regular-season record, playoff record over the past two seasons and strength of schedule. The old setup put teams in divisions based on what leagues the teams played in and school size. Basketball teams in the CIF-SS already abide by the competitive equity model.

In a news release put out by the CIF in November, Wigod said that large margins of victories in the first rounds of football, water polo and tennis playoffs in 2015 clearly indicates “that there is a very large gap across the spectrum of sports and divisions.” The goal of the new model is to shrink the gap.

Perhaps some of the biggest changes for the fall will be at Arroyo Grande, the highest ranked school in the county across all fall sports. The school’s football team will be one of 18 schools in Division 2 after garnering a No. 32 spot in the inaugural power rankings and will be in a division packed with talent. Its girls tennis team will compete in Division 1.

Here’s a full look at the rest of the SLO County seedings by team and sport in order of highest power ranking to lowest:


Arroyo Grande (PAC 5): Division 2

Paso Robles (PAC 5): Division 3

Atascadero (PAC 5): Division 3

Nipomo (Northern League): Division 6

Templeton (Northern League): Division 10

Mission Prep (Northern League): Division 10

San Luis Obispo (PAC 5): Division 10

Morro Bay (Northern League): Division 11

Boys Water Polo

Arroyo Grande: Division 3

San Luis Obispo: Division 4

Atascadero: Division 5

Nipomo: Division 5

Paso Robles: Division 5

Morro Bay: Division 6

Girls Volleyball

Arroyo Grande: Division 2

San Luis Obispo: Division 4

Atascadero: Division 4

Mission Prep: Division 4

Paso Robles: Division 4

Templeton: Division 5

Morro Bay: Division 7

Nipomo: Division 7

Girls Tennis

Arroyo Grande: Division 1

San Luis Obispo: Division 2

Atascadero: Division 3

Paso Robles: Division 3

Mission Prep: Division 3

Templeton: Division 4

Morro Bay: Division 4

Nipomo: Division 4

The CIF-SS said in a press release that the data is not complete because some schools have not entered their records, so there may be slight adjustments to the rankings. The divisions will change after each season based on each team’s performance going forward.