CIF SOUTHERN SECTION BADMINTON HISTORY
In 1972 the CIF Southern Section added the sport of girls badminton as part of their mission to increase the number of sports and opportunities for girls in high school sports. At the inception of the team championships, there were close to 150 schools competing from Barstow to Newport Beach and all points in between.
In 1980 the sport converted to co-ed. This was a real cutting edge move at the time as there were no other co-ed sports competing in high school or college programs.
As time went on the number of teams diminished as the conversion to a co-ed program did not help with Title IX concerns. CIF Southern Section badminton maintained about 100 schools participating through the 1990's, then the numbers began to drop. Universities had eliminated the sport, and its associated scholarships, with advent of co-ed play at the collegiate level, and the opportunities for post high school play diminished.
At the same time the demographics of the sport in general were shifting. As one of the most popular sports in all of Asia, and with the migration of many families from that part of the world to the area, the sport became incredibly multi-racial, with a majority of participants from Asian backgrounds.
As schools started dropping the sport, first generation parents were not prepared to contend with the decision to eliminate the sport their children participated in. The sport reached a low point in the Southern Section and consideration was given to dropping badminton altogether.
The sport thrived however in other sections throughout the state of California. One by one, other CIF Sections added the sport. Some girls only, others co-ed. It appealed to what was described as: "a population that does not commonly receive CIF Championship opportunities." As such, the decision was made to add co-ed and girls badminton as a State Conference Championship sport.
In 2016 badminton debuted as a Conference Championship event. Qualifying players from the CIF Southern Section play in the Southern California Regional Championships against players from as far south as San Diego and as far north as Fresno. It is expected that the number of high schools participating in CIF badminton competition in the Southern Section will increase along with this opportunity.
Universities and Colleges have very organized Club/Teams. The CCCAA (State of California Community Colleges) offer badminton as a Varsity Sport in the spring each year.
Over the years, the Southern Section has produced many USA junior and adult national champions and even a couple of Olympic Games participants. We look forward to this new era of growth and participation.