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OSAA looks at changes to class system
The OSAA?experiment with hybrid leagues appears to be about to end
January 03, 2013
Shortly after the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) went to six school classifications, they created the hybrid league.
The thinking behind those leagues with more than one school classification was that it would allow teams to stay within their geographic area and minimizing travel.
Although the leagues may have been successful in that regard, they have become unpopular with the majority of athletic directors and coaches in the state.
“Well, I wrote a letter to the committee and said we want to be in a 4A league,” said Crook County athletic director Scott Polen. “We don’t want to be in a hybrid anymore. Our first choice would be to be in a 4A league locally. I didn’t say who those teams would be, but I think everybody knows.”
Polen is not alone in his dislike of hybrid leagues.
Mountain View athletic director Dave Hood recently told The Bulletin, “We tried hybrid leagues and it just didn’t work out, and not just for us.”
Now, as the OSAA?Classification and Districting Committee prepares to make recommendations for the 2014-2018 time block, there are a lot of unanswered questions. However, the one thing that is certain is that hybrid leagues are going to be gone.
So where does that leave Crook County and the other hybrid teams?
That question is far from being answered. Although it is still early in the process, the Classification and Districting Committee is currently working with three draft proposals.
The first plan would keep the current six classifications, but look at
creating fewer, but larger leagues. In that proposal, most of the current Intermountain Hybrid League would become part of a nine-team league that would look much like the old Intermountain Conference. Teams in that league would include Bend, Mountain View, Summit, Redmond, Ridgeview, Hermiston, Pendleton, Hood River Valley, and The Dalles Wahtonka.
Under the plan, current Central Oregon 4A teams Madras, Sisters, and La Pine would remain in their current league affiliations, leaving Crook County as the odd team out.
So where would that leave Crook County? The committee’s recommendation is that Crook County join the Greater Oregon League. With just four teams currently in the league, the GOL has been looking for new teams. Since Crook County is already competing in the league in wrestling, track and field, tennis, and boys golf, that might seem a logical fit. However, traveling to Baker, La Grande, Ontario, and McLoughlin of Milton-Freewater would mean lots of travel and time out of school — something the OSAA has said it is trying to avoid.
“When I saw the proposal ,I wrote a second letter to the OSAA,” Polen said. “We reject the idea of Crook County being in the GOL. We don’t want to do that.”
The second draft proposal that the committee is looking at is to go from six to five classifications.
Under that plan, Crook County would be placed in a league with Hood River Valley, Madras, Mountain View, Pendleton, Redmond, Ridgeview, and The Dalles Wahtonka.
Sisters and La Pine would both be 3A schools, while Bend and Summit would be placed in the nine-team Central Valley Conference. In addition to the two Bend schools, the league would include McKay, McNary, North Salem, South Salem, Sprague, West Salem, and West Albany.
The five classification proposal seems to be gaining momentum around the state. However, the Central Valley Conference would be a tough sell. Bend, Summit, and Mountain View have made it clear that they all wish to remain in the same conference. In addition, when Redmond was placed in a conference in the Willamette Valley in the past, several schools sued in an attempt to block the move.
“If we were forced into one of the three drafts that are on the table now, this is the one we would choose,” Polen said. “It depends on where they put the numbers. That would be OK, but we would rather they keep the numbers where they are now and be in a 4A league.”
The final draft the committee is currently looking at is to keep six classifications for football only and go to five classifications for all other sports.
In that proposal, Crook County would remain as a 4A school. However, under the current configuration, they would once again be placed in the Greater Oregon League.
One other significant change that the OSAA?is looking at is changing the way they classify school size. Currently they use a school’s average daily attendance (ADM).
All three of the new proposals would also look at socioeconomic factors and enrollment boundaries giving adjusted ADM?figures.
The new numbers take into account whether schools have open enrollment and what percentage of the students were beneficiaries of free or reduced lunch programs and a number of other factors. For example, schools with large numbers of students on free or reduced lunch programs would see their ADM figures adjusted downwards with the plan.
Keep in mind that nothing is finalized. The Classification and Districting Committee meets six more times before it presents its final recommendation to the OSAA executive board.