San Benito High School Athletic Director Tod Thatcher reports that this is the final year of the Monterey Bay League "as we know it." The current MBL Equity league, with two divisions (Gabilan and Pacific) was formed in 2012. Next fall, 33 Southern Conference schools will merge into the newly-formed PCAL (Pacific Coast Athletic League) which will be the largest league in California.
"The philosophy of the newly-formed league is to provide education-based athletics in an equity-based tiered league," Thatcher said. "Each sport will be broken into divisions based on the competitive strength of each school in each sport. There will be some sports with just two divisions and some may (such as basketball or soccer) have five divisions, dependent upon the number of school fielding programs in each sport.
The division names, ranked from the strongest on top ("A" League) down to the "C" League, will be:
- PCAL – Gabilan
- PCAL – Mission
- PCAL – Cypress
- PCAL – Santa Lucia
- PCAL – Arroyo
Over the past year, athletic directors and administrators have worked closely with the PCAL merger sub-committee to finalize structure of the newly-formed league. As a member of the merger sub-committee, Thatcher has been immersed in the formation of the new league, serving as chair of the football realignment committee made up of several athletic directors from the new PCAL. Recommendations for division placement for all Fall sports will be made to the PCAL athletic directors in mid-November. Both spring and winter sports will follow the same process at the end of each respective season.
The new league doesn't come without some logistical challenges, Thatcher noted. "The more schools added to the league the more diverse the league becomes. The PCAL will host some of the CCS's largest and smallest schools in terms of enrollment. The league spans geographically from Morgan Hill to King City as well as our league mates in Pacific Grove and Carmel north to Santa Cruz. The PCAL also includes private and public schools."