A proposal to align all five football-playing Orange County community colleges in the same conference in the fall of 1988 will be put to a vote today in a meeting at Saddleback College.
Fullerton and Golden West colleges have applied for acceptance to the Mission Conference, which is a football-only conference currently comprised of Orange County schools Saddleback, Orange Coast and Rancho Santiago, along with Citrus, Grossmont, Palomar, Riverside, San Diego City, San Diego Mesa and Southwestern. Mission Conference athletic directors will vote on both applications today.
"We need to get the schools together for many reasons," said Dick Tucker, Mission Conference president and Orange Coast College athletic director. "We need to keep the county rivalries alive and it would keep transportation costs down."
If Fullerton and Golden West are accepted into the Mission Conference, another vote will be held today by the athletic directors of the Orange Empire Conference, a non-football-playing conference, which is expected to take in Fullerton and Golden West for all other sports. That would place the six county schools--Cypress, Fullerton, Golden West, Orange Coast, Rancho Santiago and Saddleback--in the same conference. Cypress does not field a football team.
The Orange Empire Conference is currently made up of Cypress, Saddleback, Orange Coast, Rancho Santiago, Riverside and Citrus. Fullerton and Golden West are presently members of the South Coast Conference, where the Hornets and the Rustlers compete in all sports.
Last Friday, however, Citrus athletic director Ed Conly said his school would be moving to the Southern California Conference for all sports in the fall of 1988. With Citrus leaving, the Orange Empire will be cut to five teams, the smallest in the state.
Citrus' departure would appear to create openings in both the Mission and Orange Empire conferences, but it still isn't certain whether Fullerton or Golden West--or both--will be allowed in.
At a meeting two weeks ago, Hal Sherbeck, Fullerton athletic director, and Tom Hermstad, Golden West athletic director, spoke and answered questions in front of the Mission Conference athletic directors, who then denied the schools from joining the conference in an informal vote.
"Some things have happened since then (the last meeting)," Tucker said. "But I really can't speak to that as of yet. We'll have to wait for the meeting to see what happens."
Said Dick Van Voorhis, Cypress athletic director and Orange Empire Conference president: "It's all very confusing right now. But everything we do will depend on the way the Mission Conference schools vote. After that we should have some direction to this."
Bowl time: El Camino, Orange Coast, Saddleback and Cerritos are among the early favorites to get a bid to the 1987 PONY Bowl, which will be played Dec. 5 at Orange Coast.
El Camino (8-0 overall and 5-0 in the South Coast Conference) needs only a victory over Pasadena Saturday or Golden West next week to clinch the conference title and is the favorite for a bowl berth. El Camino has a 1 1/2-game lead over Fullerton, Cerritos and Golden West.
Orange Coast (7-1 overall and 6-1 and tied for first in the Mission Conference) has the advantage over conference rival Saddleback (6-2, 6-1) because OCC has a better overall record and won the meeting between the schools, 42-38.
OCC plays at home against Palomar Saturday and plays at Citrus Nov. 21 to end the regular season. Saddleback plays host to Citrus Saturday and plays Rancho Santiago at Santa Ana Stadium Nov. 21 to end the season.
El Camino could also be a favorite for the Potato Bowl played in Bakersfield.
Taft (8-0), the state's and country's top-ranked team, is expected to gain a berth.
But the Potato Bowl will also look at Bakersfield (5-4) which is in a first-place tie with Glendale at 4-1 in the Western State Conference with one game left.
Community College Notes
Quarterback Rick Burns threw for two touchdowns and ran for another to lead Rancho Santiago to a 34-20 victory over Citrus in a Mission Conference football game Saturday night. Rancho Santiago is 4-4, 3-4 . . . Kurt Lundberg scored a goal to lead Golden West College's soccer team to a 1-0 victory over El Camino Friday night. Golden West trails El Camino by 1 1/2 games with two left in the South Coast Conference race.