Thomas said some serious questions regarding competitive equity and financing must be studied carefully before a decision is made to form the section.
"Some schools fit very nicely, some are caught in between and then what are you going to do with the small private schools?" he said. "Do they (proponents of a new section) understand the costs that are going to be involved? No one from Orange County has come to this office and talked to our accountant.
"There are so many hidden costs like medical and dental benefits, state taxes, office equipment and furniture that keep going up. It costs $70,000 a month to operate this office and it gets more expensive each year."
Msgr. Michael Harris, principal of Santa Margarita High, said a county section could be formed as soon as 1992 when the next releaguing cycle goes into effect. The cycle is significant because Catholic schools will join public leagues in the county for the first time.
"I don't have a reading whether this (county section) is a definite thing cast in concrete or whether we're still in a state of discussion," Harris said. "My gut feeling tells me we're moving toward an Orange County section.
"Basically, it will come down to the willingness of school districts to put energy, effort and money behind this movement. If there's a great enough commitment, this could happen within a year."
But Tom Triggs, principal of La Habra High and a member of the Executive Committee, warned about moving too swiftly.
"It's not realistic to believe that a county section will be operating in September of 1992," Triggs said. "Corporate support will take some time. I think some are being overly optimistic regarding corporate possibilities. There are certainly some question marks here.
"There will be a lot of thought and discussion before this comes to pass. Someday, there will be an Orange County Section. I don't know how soon it's going to happen."
Dennis Evans, principal at Newport Harbor High, was the only administrator interviewed who firmly opposed a county section.
"An Orange County Section is another in a long line of overreactions by Orange County people and a bad decision at this time," Evans said. "I look at the possibility of a section as a sign of a weakness in the present Southern Section and I think that weakness could be corrected.
"We're all facing a financial crunch in our districts. We're all hurting financially. I don't see a school board saying we need this. I don't think it will happen."
On The Road to Forming Orange County Section The time line for a proposal before county school superintendents that would establish a separate California Interscholastic federation athletic section:
November, 1990: Saddleback Valley Unified School District contracts with consultant Barbara Wilson to conduct a feasibility study.
May, 1991: Wilson delivers an 87-page feasibility study to the county's superintendents.
July 2, 1991: Wilson meets with representatives of private schools to explain how the section would effect them.
Aug. 20, 1991: Superintendents would meet to discuss and vote on the proposal. Seventy-five percent of those voting is required for approval.
Aug. 22, 1991: Superintendents would present the separate section proposal to the Southern Section's Executive Committee and request the item be placed on an upcoming general council meeting as a non-action item.
Sept. 19, 1991: Southern Section general council would review the proposal and schedule it as an action-item for its next meeting.
Jan. 16, 1992: Southern Section general council would vote on the proposal. A simple majority (34 votes) of the section's 66 leagues would be needed for passage.
Feb. 7-8, 1992: State Federated Council would appoint a committee to study the impact the new section would have on existing Southern Section.
May 8-9, 1992: State Federated Council would vote on the proposal. A simple majority (52 votes) of 101 council members would be needed for approval.
Proposal's Pluses, Minuses
When superintendents meet Aug. 20, here are some of the issues confronting them: Advantages
* Greater Autonomy for Decision Making
* Increased Participation of Superintendents
* Less Travel, Classroom Time Lost for Playoffs
* Potential for Greater Corporate Support
* More Community Support and Media Coverage
* Outstanding Facilities for Championship Events Disadvantages
* Increased Dues and Sport Participation Fees
* Equity of Competition for Smaller Private Schools
* Costs of Establishing Administration Building, Staff and Equipment
* Loss of Security and Services in Established Southern Section
* Uncertainty of Economy and Securing Corporate Sponsorships
* Smaller Share of Playoff Revenues
Who Would Be Affected