Stephens: This is the second round (of discussion) in the past three years about a county section. One of my complaints in the first round was that it hadn't been thought out. There hadn't been any planning done. In my views, it's a top-down command issue, and the people in the trenches--the athletic directors, the coaches and even the principals--aren't saying anything, I think, because they feel their jobs are threatened. There are going to be some struggles for some schools.
Barnes: From a coaching standpoint, I don't think there should be a county section. A year ago, the county had football champions in six divisions. That's great, especially when we're playing teams from Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, the whole works.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday April 15, 1993 Orange County Edition Sports Part C Page 13 Column 3 Sports Desk 1 inches; 20 words Type of Material: Correction
Irvine developer--In the Orange County Edition's Prep Wednesday, the name of an Irvine developer Donald M. Koll was spelled incorrectly.
If we cut that out and get down to two county section champions, everyone will say, "Hell, that doesn't mean anything there. They just take care of themselves." That's the way we think of the LA City section right now. I always thought, "Carson and Banning, so what? There are two good schools in that section, and you don't know anybody else." We could easily get to that here, and it would really hurt the image of Orange County sports. The image right now is top dog, great programs who can compete with anybody.
Besides, we have to find tons of funding, corporate sponsors to make it go, and charge schools more the first few years.
Q. Could we afford it? High school athletic programs have suffered from across-the-board school budget cuts over the past five years, and the Southern Section just lost its major sponsor, Reebok. So where would the money come from for a county section?
Doyle: The best thing to do, and it has been proposed all across the country, is to get something from the pro sports teams. How many guys played for the Rams and Angels who didn't play football or baseball in high school? They owe it to us. How many people who go to pro games are high school kids? I think that's where the money needs to come from. That's the logical thing.
How do you go to (Irvine developer) Donald Cole and say, "Give money to high school athletics" when the Rams and the Angels aren't out on the forefront doing it? Look at the positive public relations those teams could make from this.
We have a hockey team now, and local kids are playing hockey. The football and baseball teams are logical choices. We have two teams right here in Anaheim Stadium, and they charge $6 to park. I grew up in Anaheim and was there when they broke ground on the stadium. I'm embarrassed to pay $6 to park my car there. Where's all that money going? Why can't we get any of it? If they're going to raise the price of parking a buck, why don't they give that money back to the schools for athletics? Think of the money that's there that could help us. Tie that into the county section, and then it might be a good idea to go that direction.
I do know those considering the county section were talking about tying in with Anaheim Stadium and the Anaheim Arena for playoffs and also office space for their headquarters. Somebody has to tap those people to help us financially. Whether there's a county section or not, they should come in and donate some money to the county schools.
Q. Hmm, would that mean we would have the Mighty Duck Orange County Championships?
Doyle: There you go.
Q. Professional sports teams in Chicago raised money for struggling high school programs. Has anyone thought to approach the Rams or Angels with a similar proposal?
Doyle: Someone like John Barnes can't go to the Rams and do it. It has to be someone with clout, with structure. It has to be a group that has to formulate a plan.
Stephens: Remember, there are two issues here. One is professional athletics helping us fund high school sports. The other is justification of the extra expense of a county section, which will do nothing more than try to duplicate what the Southern Section is already doing.
Doyle: From a greed standpoint, I don't think we want pro sports to help the Southern Section because you're going to throw in the Dodgers, Raiders, Lakers, Clippers and another 420 high schools in. It would be great if we could have just our local pro teams support Orange County sports by giving X-amount of dollars or a flat-fee donation to each school.
Take the money from one of those Angel doubleheaders--or what used to be doubleheaders and are now two games--and divide it among the county schools. When they play Seattle, call it "Orange County Athletics Night." Or try it for a three-game series. Or maybe a Rams' preseason game.
Q. If a section does come to pass, how would you see it divided? Two divisions? Three?
Barnes: It would have to be two divisions. You can't water it down. That's about 30 teams per division, and that's about what you get in the Southern Section right now. If you went to three divisions, you would have the same couple teams playing each other.