The Classification and Districting Committee of the Oregon School Activities Association is supporting a change in Oregon’s high schools that would eliminate a classification and drop to five classes from six.
The committee held a meeting Monday in Wilsonville to discuss whether the committee support the current six classification system or go to a five classification model.
There were 26 representatives from high schools in Oregon who testified about the subject at the meeting, and the majority of those were in favor of six classes.
“I think by my calculations they had 26 people testify and 22 of the 26 in some way shape or form were in support of staying at the 6A classification,” said Stayton athletic director Darren Shryock who testified at the meeting.
“If they’ve already made up their mind, why have that meeting? I hope it’s not set in stone. I hope it’s something that can still be addressed. I’ve been fielding calls from coaches and other AD’s all morning.”
The committee listed in its update from the meeting as reasons for changing to a five class model as it would reduce overall travel, it better addresses travel in outlying areas, it gives greater depth in each classification and it would provide greater stability within and between classifications.
What would suffer, however, would be competitive balance.
The schools that would be most hurt are those at the current 4A level like Stayton and Cascade.
In the five classification draft released by the committee, Cascade (with an adjusted 683 students) and Stayton (608) would be in the same league as current 5A powers Silverton (1,149) and Wilsonville (1,077) and schools approved to play down a class in North Salem (1,404) and Woodburn (1,256).
That large of a discrepancy in sizes of schools could be catastrophic for rural schools like Cascade and Stayton.
“It doesn’t sit well, that’s for sure,” said Shryock, Stayton’s girls basketball coach who previously coached boys basketball at Silverton and McKay. “And I was at Silverton for many years and Silverton and Stayton are not the same schools. They’re both great schools, but they’re not alike schools.
“It will be very detrimental. There’s 20, maybe 25 schools at the 4A level that this is devastating for.”
Oregon’s high schools expanded to six classifications from its long-time standard of four classes starting with the 2006-07 school year.
There are still two models for the 5A classification in the latest draft.
One has Salem-Keizer schools McKay, McNary, South Salem, Sprague and West Salem in a nine-team league with Bend, Mountain View, Summit and West Albany.
The other has McKay, McNary, South Salem, Sprague and West Salem in a seven-team league with McMinnville and West Albany.
The next meeting of the committee is at 1 p.m. April 10 at the Wilsonville Holiday Inn.
It will make its final recommendation for classification for the 2018-2022 time block to the OSAA Executive Board at the Oct. 16 Special Classification and Districting meeting.
bpoehler@StatesmanJournal.com or Twitter.com/bpoehler