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City Section Benching the B-Team Program

August 08, 1993|STEVE ELLING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

This fall, the City Section plans to begin an integrated program of grade-level and exponent football for freshmen and sophomores, marking the first step toward elimination of the B football program.

The much-maligned B program--also known as the exponent system, under which a player's age, weight and size are used to determine level of competition--could be phased out by the 1994 season.

City Commissioner Hal Harkness called 1993 a "transition year" and said he is hopeful that if the plan is well-received, the Board of Education might eliminate the B program by the following year.

In 1994, Harkness said, he hopes City programs will field "pure, traditional" frosh-soph and varsity programs.

"Believe me, it's the sincere hope of the high schools division and the coaches' association that this is a one-year process that leads to a grade-level football program in 1994," Harkness said.

This fall, freshman and sophomore players can participate on the B team regardless of their weight, age or size. Previously, because of the vagaries of the exponent system, some sophomores who were too large for the B team or not talented enough for the varsity had no place to play. The exponent system will still apply to juniors and seniors.

Football coaches have long been critical of the B program, claiming it leaves them at a disadvantage compared to their Southern Section counterparts. Harkness said the City is the only section in the state--and is believed to be the only school district in the nation--that still uses the exponent system.

Among other concerns, City coaches have had trouble scheduling games against teams from outside the section because B teams don't match up with frosh-soph programs.

A recent survey conducted by administrators at Carson High stated that 85% of the 402 respondents were in favor of the program's elimination. All but one of the varsity coaches who responded also favored its abolishment, as did 83% of the B football coaches who were contacted.

Despite repeated attempts by coaches to eliminate the B program, the board has steadfastly refused to dismantle it.

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