Changing the landscape for the North Coast Section playoffs and possibly beyond, the powerhouse Bishop O'Dowd High girls basketball team was disqualified from participating in the NCS tournament after it was discovered the Dragons played one more game this season than is allowed by the section.
Bishop O'Dowd, which has won five straight NCS Division III titles and was CIF Open Division champion in 2013, has a 23-4 record, but NCS teams are allowed to play only 26 games before the section playoffs begin.
The Dragons had one scrimmage against Marin Catholic, were 8-2 in nonleague games, had a combined record of 5-2 in two tournaments and captured the West Alameda County Conference-Foothill Division title with a 10-0 record. Playoffs begin Tuesday and continue until March 8.
Section commissioner Gil Lemmon said Sunday that the rule violation was discovered Saturday night as the NCS staff pored over applications for postseason spots.
A release issued by the school stated, "Bishop O'Dowd High School attempts to schedule the best teams in California every year. Unfortunately, this year while scheduling our allotted contacts, we failed to designate one of our contacts as a scrimmage. As a result, this put us over the number of games allowed by our section."
Bishop O'Dowd was expected to be the No. 1 or 2 seed for the NCS Division III playoffs. Brackets for the section playoffs were released Sunday afternoon, and Miramonte received the No. 1 seed in Division III.
In the statement, Bishop O'Dowd said it will explore every option to compete in the CIF Open Division tournament, and athletic director Mike Bowler said he will meet with Lemmon on Monday to discuss the matter. The state playoffs begin March 12.
"This oversight falls collectively on our entire staff, and we feel terrible that this has occurred," the school statement said. "We are disappointed for our girls who have dedicated countless hours to their pursuit of defending their NCS championship."
East Bay teams were given the No. 1 seed in 10 of the 12 brackets from Divisions I-VI. Monte Vista took the No. 1 seed in Division I in both the boys and girls brackets, Carondelet was the No. 1 seed in Division II girls, and Bishop O'Dowd was the No. 1 seed in Division III boys.
In Division IV, Moreau Catholic is the boys No. 1 seed and Salesian is the girls No. 1 seed. In Division V, St. Joseph Notre Dame boys and Valley Christian-Dublin girls were given No. 1 seeds. California School for the Deaf was the No. 1 seed in the Division VI bracket.
Among the few boys teams who were eligible for the playoffs but did not receive a berth was Northgate, which was eligible in Division II after it went 8-4 in the Diablo Valley Athletic League. Northgate (12-14) had two wins over No. 10 Clayton Valley but had lost to No. 16 Arroyo on Dec. 6.