Here's an interesting article by Greg Wagner of the Antelope Valley Press, who reports that the Southern California Football Association will discuss adding a third tier to its multi-level structure in an annual meeting later this month.
Designed to match programs of similar competitive levels, the SCFA and its National (upper) and American (lower) divisions replaced the traditional conference structure two years ago. An additional division would mirror the three-tiered structure that's been in place in Northern California.
"The ideal thing is to have three divisions, so when a team moves up, you don't move up all the way," Antelope Valley College athletic director Newton Chelette told Wagner. "You have a chance to work up to that level. You don't have to just be thrown in there to get thrown back down."
Wagner reports that a middle tier would allow competition between schools that have been successful in the American Division (like Pacific Conference champion Antelope Valley) and schools that haven't been successful in the National Division (like Moorpark, which at 4-16, is tied for the worst overall record in the National Division over the first two years of the SCFA experiment).
There is no mention of why a multi-tiered system works in this era of budget cuts and cost containment.
UPDATE:Wagner mentions Antelope Valley and Moorpark as two of the programs that would fit a middle tier. Another source I spoke to tonight said Citrus and Glendale would also fit, as both schools applied to drop down to the American Division for the next two-year cycle, but were denied because no American Division teams applied for promotion to the National Division. Confused yet?