League realignment will send International to BCL West, Drew to BCL Central

International's Denia Ebersole goes up for a shot against Bay in the BCL Central girls basketball championship on Feb. 19 at San Domenico School in San Anselmo. International will play it's final season in the BCL Central in 2011-2012. (Photo by Doug Ko)

By Jeremy Balan

Every four years, the North Coast Section allows for league realignment, and two San Francisco high schools will be playing in different leagues in the 2012-13 school year.

Still playing under the overall umbrella of the Bay Area Conference, International High School and Drew School will take each other’s spots in their respective leagues. International will move from the Bay Counties League Central to the Bay Counties League West, while Drew will leave the BCL West to take International’s spot in the BCL Central.

“Last October, the conference approved the move and the Board of Governors approved it in April,” said BAC commissioner Tom Welsh. “It was a unanimous vote by the athletic directors with hardly any discussion, and the Board of Governors also received a consensus.”

Despite what the league names may indicate, competitive balance within the leagues is the conference’s focus, with the BCL West several steps above the BCL Central in overall talent and competition across all sports.

“The conference and athletic directors, at least the majority of them, put more emphasis on league play being competitive,” Welsh said. “We look at creating leagues where there is competitive equity.”

International, arguably the most successful program across all sports in the BCL Central, will move to the significantly more competitive BCL West, where Drew has yet to win a league title and struggles mightily in many sports.

Drew's Rizwan Sardan (left) tries to keep the ball away from Lick-Wilmerding's Alex Frakel on Sept. 24 at Boxer Stadium. Drew will move to the BCL Central in the 2012-2013 season. (Photo by Devin Chen)

“This was the time to do it,” said International athletic director and head baseball coach Anthony Thomas. “We made it clear that we were interested in changing over. We’re going to get the opportunity to play schools that we align with philosophically and with the money we put into our program.”

There is no doubt that the crop of small-school powers like University High School, Marin Academy and Lick-Wilmerding in the BCL West will bolster International’s schedule, and Thomas hopes the quality competition will attract desirable athletes.

“We want to attract the best student athletes, and a lot of parents want to know what league you’re in,” Thomas said. “It’s nice to know that we automatically have two games with Marin Academy and University, but it makes me lose a little sleep, because they are two of the best teams in Division V.”

While International takes a step up, Drew will drop down to the BCL Central, which is regarded by many as one of the weakest leagues in the NCS. Still, the program and administration at Drew views the switch as an opportunity.

“As an athletic department, we’re excited about it,” said Drew athletic director and head baseball coach Carlos Reed. “The only thing that’s really changing is our [league] schedule, because we’re still going to try to play BCL West teams [in nonleague play].”

Reed embraces the change, but would not rule out reentering the BCL West when the next opportunity for realignment comes around.

“If that opportunity presents itself in another four years, the school will definitely think about that,” Reed said. “Who knows what’s going to happen? Things change a lot around here and have changed a lot even in the four years since the last realignment.”

The BAC’s East Bay leagues will also be impacted by realignment, with Holy Names of Oakland moving to the Bay Counties League East from the Bay Shore Athletic League. Quarry Lane of Dublin is also applying to be a part of the BAC’s other East Bay league, the Bay Counties League, in a supplemental capacity with boys soccer and boys basketball teams.

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  1. ? says:

    is it true that branson is moving back to the bcl?

  2. Uni says:

    I heard the girls basketball program at University is getting a new coach, any idea of who? who’s left out there that’s looking for a coaching job besides Keith Smart.

  3. Anonymous says:

    While you are correct that the BCL West normally is a stronger league than the BCL Central, I don’t think its fair to say that they are better in everything. This year the girls basketball teams in the BCL Central gave the teams in the West a run for their money, or even beating them. Also International I do not believe is the best across all BCL Central sports. They have yet to even win a league championship this year. It is fair to say though that they are very strong competitors. I just think there is some more credit due to the BCL Central and the other teams in that league than this article gives.

  4. Anonymous says:

    IHS Is only has one good, baseball. the rest of their teams have plenty of competition in the BCL Central.

  5. Anon says:

    League realignment takes into consideration than just one year of competition. Even though international athletic teams have been struggling to close out the league title, they have been present in the final of many competitions (mens soccer, women’s basketball, etc). This realignment made sense financially too. Let’s be honest, gateway, despite their occasional talent, does not have the same athletic budget as international. That is just fact. And money systematically attracts some sort of talent.

    • Anonymous says:

      I do not mean to say that International should not be switching leagues; my main point was that this article makes some pretty bold statements about the BCL Central and the rest of the teams in it besides International. I just don’t think its fair to say that the “BCL West several steps above the BCL Central in overall talent and competition across all sports,” or to say that International is the most successful program across all sports in the BCL Central, because this is not completely true. Yes, I know that the BCL West is most of the time better than the BCL Central, and that International is very strong competition, but I do not think it is fair to completely discredit the BCL Central and the rest of the teams besides International in it.

      • Observer says:

        International is THE dominant team in the BCL-Central across all sports.

        Baseball is 40-5 in the BCL-Central

        Boys Basketball even after a down season is 41-9 and won 30 straight at one point in the Central.

        Girls basketball is 48-10 in the Central.

        Boys soccer is 38-8-4 in the BCL-Central.

        Girls soccer is 54-3-4.

        Girls volleyball is 33-25.

        In other words WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?

        • Anonymous says:

          I dont know…. Bay has given some strong competition…

          bay girls and boys basketball is better than internationals
          historically bay boys baseball has been better
          bay girls soccer has played international in the finals for years
          and bays girl volleyball has dominated with 3 back to back to back championships….

          so i would say that international is not the dominant team in BCL central

          • Anonymous says:

            I agree, International was definitely dominant in the first few years of the BCL Central, but in the past few years, not so much…

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