OSAA sticks with final proposal; AHS in hybrid league

Faced with the daunting task of aligning high schools for the 2010-14 time block, the Oregon School Activities Association Executive Board opted to make no changes to the final recommendation made by its Classification and Districting Committee in a meeting Monday.

That decision came after considering testimony earlier in the day from schools unsatisfied by the final recommendation — which was released Sept. 30 — including concerns by Ashland High representatives about its placement at the 5A level.

Athletic Director Karl Kemper had requested the Grizzlies, who are facing projected enrollment declines, be placed in the 4A Skyline Conference.

Classification enrollment was set at 1,480 students and over for the 6A level and 870 to 1,479 for the 5A level. Class 4A enrollments range from 400-869, 3A is 226-399, 2A is 106-225 and 1A is 105 and under.

As a comparison, the 2006-10 time block set enrollment standards at: Class 6A (1,521 and over), 5A (851-1,520), 4A (401-850), 3A (236-400), 2A (116-235) and 1A (115 and under).

The biggest change involves the grouping of school after the committee was tasked with trying to create bigger leagues while also reducing the amount of travel and expense for each school. That led to the introduction of hybrid leagues back in February, and some minor tweaking has taken place since then.

For the upcoming four-year block, there will be a Southern Oregon hybrid league that includes 6A schools North Medford, South Medford, Grants Pass, Roseburg and Crater — which moves up from 5A — and 5A schools Ashland and Eagle Point.

The 4A Skyline Conference will include Phoenix, Henley, Hidden Valley, North Valley and newcomers Klamath Union and Mazama. The Pelicans and Vikings currently play in the 5A Southern Sky Conference with Eagle Point, Ashland and Crater. It was in this league that Kemper had hoped his Grizzlies would be placed.

The hybrid solution was also used for local 3A and 2A schools, with Cascade Christian and Rogue River joined in a 3A listing that includes Illinois Valley, Lakeview and St. Mary's. The Crusaders will be making a move up in classification after the dissolution of the 2A Southern Cascade League. Also in the 3A-2A Southern hybrid are 2A schools Bonanza, Chiloquin and Lost River.

The 1A Mountain Valley League will include Butte Falls, Gilchrist, Hosanna Christian, North Lake, Paisley, Prospect, Rogue Valley Adventist, Triad and Trinity Lutheran.

Now that the leagues have been finalized, a State Championship Committee will convene to help determine state qualifying procedures, with a particular focus on the hybrid leagues. That committee has already met once and will meet again Monday in Wilsonville.

A final recommendation from that group is not expected until April.

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