The OSAA classification and districting committee has released a single six-classification proposal to schools as it continues to plot for the four-year time block that begins in 2022-23.
It indicates that the committee, which met Monday, is leaning toward recommending the current six-classification format, with adjustments.
“At this point, that's where they're at, supporting that,” OSAA executive director Peter Weber said. “They wanted to focus down to one approach. That's what they believe made sense for the association.”
Among the proposed changes to the current alignment is a split in the 6A Mountain Valley Conference. The Salem-Keizer schools would stay together in a Central Valley Conference and the Bend schools – Bend, Mountain View, Summit and Caldera – would join with Redmond, Ridgeview and Crook County in a 5A Intermountain Conference.
Much of that decision has hinged on the anticipated enrollment figures for the 6A Bend schools with the opening of Caldera this year. Weber said the OSAA has been working with the Bend-La Pine School District to determine if the schools will fall below the 1,000 enrollment cut-off for 6A.
“We're dialing those all the way down to the fifth grade,” Weber said. “Based on the redrawn boundaries and enrollment projections that they have, the committee felt comfortable putting them in 5A.”
McKay, one of the Salem-Keizer schools, has met the criteria for its athletic programs to play down in 5A. The Scots have the option of staying with other Salem-Keizer schools in 6A or moving to 5A, where they are proposed to join the Mid-Willamette Conference.
Also in the draft, Pendleton, Parkrose, The Dalles, Scappoose and North Bend would move from 5A to 4A. Among the schools ticketed to drop from 4A to 3A are Valley Catholic, Corbett, Sisters, Siuslaw, North Valley, McLoughlin and Elmira.
More changes could be coming.
“We still have some of the same potential issues in terms of small leagues in some areas, and travel, but that's what we tried to address with some of the changes,” Weber said. “No matter where you draw those things, there is going to be some of that.”
The committee is scheduled to meet again Nov. 1 and Nov. 22. It will present its final recommendation to the executive board Dec. 13.