As SF Weekly foreshadowed, the National Federation of State High School Associations last month voted, 46-2, for rule changes that effectively kill the innovative, two-quarterback A-11 offense -- which is every bit as lopsided a tally when it comes to governing high school sports or playing a football game.
The system's co-creators -- San Franciscan Steve Humphries and East Bay resident Kurt Bryan, the offensive coordinator and coach, respectively, at Piedmont High -- aren't talking like men who just got beaten by six touchdowns in the NFSH ruling. Bryan eagerly invites reporters to come watch a Piedmont game next year. He's certain they'll still be running the A-11 offense.
Following the anticipated beatdown by the NFSH, Bryan, Humphries, and Piedmont's Principal met this week with officials from the California Interscholastic Federation, which is headquartered in Alameda. The state athletic body was presented with a petition requesting that Piedmont, San Francisco's Mission High, and other state schools be allowed to continue playing the A-11 offense for three years, while the CIF investigates whether to spurn the NFSH ruling. To paraphrase the line from Pirates of the Caribbean's Captain Barbosa, the national body's rulings aren't so much "rules" as "guidelines." The CIF earlier chose to counter the national body and mandate a shot clock for all high school basketball games; Bryan is hoping it'll do the same and allow his system. (You can read his petition here: 2009DualPetitionforState&NFHS.doc)
Bryan says his petition was crafted with the aid of "smart people" -- including a voting member who sits on the NFSH's rules committee (the coach wouldn't reveal the identity or hometown of this mystery person). The CIF promised a response to Piedmont later this month; should the state body also give the A-11 the thumbs down, Bryan said the football program will "meet with some really, really, really smart people within Piedmont and outside of Piedmont who will offer their support." He wouldn't reveal if these incredibly smart folks were lawyers or if legal action may be in the offing -- but Humphries told SF Weekly last month he may file a suit and seek "a federal injunction." (regarding the consistent critique that Bryan and Humphries' interest lies in protecting a lucrative side-business -- they sell playbooks on their Web site for $149 -- Bryan told ESPN that he still "drives a Honda" and has only made about $1,200 in royalties from his sales).
Calls to CIF executive director Marie Ishida were not returned -- apparently she and everyone else in the league's Alameda office are off to Bakersfield for the state wrestling championships. But Bryan is optimistic she'll approve his petition: "We don't expect the CIF to say no. We've given them tons of reasons to say yes."