By Ben • Ben Schorzman • 

OSAA could blow up Pacific Conference

The committee received public testimony from 16 people from 14 different schools and after met to discuss the issues on the table, including whether or not the OSAA should keep six classifications, hybrid leagues, and the use of using adjusted average daily membership to classify schools.

The committee reached consensus on a number of things that it will most likely recommend to the OSAA Executive Board next October. Perhaps the biggest consensus came on the number of classifications in Oregon. When the OSAA changed from the old 4A-1A system to the current six-classification system, there was a bit of backlash from traditionalists who though spreading out Oregon’s schools over six tiers diluted what it meant to win a state championship. The current committee said it hasn’t heard enough testimony against the use of six classes, though, and it will recommend continuing the current system.

One hole that the committee intends to fix is the use of hybrid leagues where a few schools were in 5A and the rest were in 6A. Members agreed to recommend eliminating these leagues and folding the schools into other league.

A consensus was also reached on using an adjusted ADM to classify schools. The ADM — a school’s average daily membership — would be adjusted 25 percent based on free and reduced lunch figures provided by the Oregon Department of Education on public schools in Oregon). For some schools the change would mean a move down a classification, like at Sheridan. Under the proposed new cutoff points, 3A would be for schools between 334-191 adjusted ADM. Sheridan under the new numbers would be at 188 instead of at 218.

While the adjusted ADM wouldn’t affect McMinnville greatly — it’s still one of the top 12 biggest schools in the state regardless — the committee has drafted a new proposal for how the Oregon classifications would look under the new adjusted ADM, elimination of hybrid leagues and new cutoff points to try and maintain traditional matchups. Mind you it’s still a draft and not official, but it appears that the current Pacific Conference is a target for demolition.

The committee said it wanted to create larger leagues where it could, and at 6A it proposes to blow up the Pacific Conference. McMinnville, Newberg and Forest Grove would be folded into the Central Valley Conference with the Salem schools and West Albany. Tigard and Tualatin would be moved to the Three Rivers League, and Century and Glencoe would move to the Metro League. Hillsboro would drop down to the 5A Portland Interscholastic League.

For most of the other schools in Yamhill County, things would be relatively stable. The Cowapa League would stay intact at 4A with Yamhill-Carlton in it. Dayton, Amity and Willamina would stay in the West Valley League, though Sheridan would drop to 2A. Horizon Christian would be moved to a new North Valley League with six other private schools, and Chemawa and Santiam Christian would both be added to the WVL.

The Classification and Districting Committee has four more meetings before it makes its first recommendations to the executive board in October. It meets March 18, followed by April 8, May 20 then September 23. Now that it has reached agreement on a few of the bigger issues, expect the following dates to be about listening to additional testimony to tweak things and refine placement of schools.


Don Dix

The OSAA seems to ignore how they have screwed up re-classification previously. And it only takes a quick look to the last time leagues were changed.

4A Madras (east of the rim) plays in a league consisting of mostly Metro area teams. 4A Crook County (Prineville) plays with 5A Bend schools in a hybrid league. And Sisters and La Pine (both 4A) play in a league of mid-Willamette Valley teams.

Why would the OSAA put 4 same-classification teams from generally Central Oregon into separate leagues when a major complaint (and cost) of districts is lengthy travel? That makes no sense!

The OSAA appears to be shaking up the classification and leagues just because they can. And it isn't expected (by this writer) that the new design will be any more practical than the last.

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