A Bullard bluff this is not.
The Knights football team wants to join the Tri-River Athletic Conference.
The school's entire athletic program, in fact, says it belongs in the TRAC. The Knights want in.
And they should. They belong there.
"We're making a big-time push to compete at the next level," Bullard athletic director Doug Finks says. "And we feel we're best fit for the TRAC."
Central Section CIF commissioner Jim Crichlow on Thursday released three proposals for league realignment, effective 2010.
The hot spots:
*Bullard's attempt to shift from the County/Metro Athletic Conference to the TRAC.
*Where to begin with Clovis North's first class of seniors -- the CMAC (where the Broncos are now) or the TRAC?
*Memorial, a private school with but 600 students, moving from the North Yosemite League to the CMAC.
*Liberty-Madera Ranchos and Sierra, each concerned with declining enrollments, dropping from the North Sequoia League to the West Sequoia.
*And the South Yosemite leagues are forming a power conference -- Kern County's answer to the TRAC -- that would join Bakersfield and Liberty-Bakersfield with Centennial and Stockdale.
The three proposals will be reviewed by section league and executive representatives before being voted upon by the section's Board of Managers on April 29. That board consists of two representatives from each league, three superintendents, a school board member and a few section officials.
A simple majority will be required for a proposal to fly. Thirty-eight people will vote, meaning at least 20 need to understand: Proposal 1 has flaws in it for the two strongest leagues in the North Area, Proposal 2 fixes those with logic, and Proposal 3 is unrealistic.
Proposal 1 puts Clovis North in the TRAC and Memorial shifts from the NYL to the CMAC. What's wrong with that?
*Bullard, a 54-year school with a sound across-the-board athletic program, improved facilities, an upgraded coaching staff and top-end goals, deserves to join the TRAC -- the section's elite league -- more than a new school (Clovis North) whose trees aren't mature enough to throw shade.
*Sure, Memorial's 600 students are largely advanced academically, often athletically. But to shove the Panthers in the CMAC, whose five proposed members would average 2,680 in enrollment? And against the likes of Bullard, Sanger and Edison? Ridiculous, especially when also considering the economy is hardly ushering parents to the doors of Memorial and its $8,000 per year tuition.
*Do we have to, at first opportunity, lump all five Clovis schools in the same ring to sock the ears off each other in the TRAC?
So Proposal 2 has Clovis North in the CMAC, and some just can't wait to cry that the Broncos will dominate there. Maybe, but it's not automatic. This is a school with its first senior class next year. Serious. Play ball, at least for a few years.
And in Proposal 3, the TRAC and CMAC remain the same. Which makes no sense when a Madera school weakened by a district split needs a new league and Bullard has shown it's ready for a promotion. Proposal 3 also keeps Bullard and Clovis North together, which would make for a pretty interesting league, but doesn't help Madera and doesn't address competitive equity in the TRAC.
Proposal 2 is most logical and fair.
Remember, with any alignment -- high school or college -- it all begins with football.
So let's examine Bullard.
The Knights' coach, Donnie Arax, is 63-38-1 in nine years at Bullard, with three CMAC titles in the past five seasons, and a 5-3 record against Clovis Unified schools in the past two.