OSSA may change classifications

After many conversations about wither or not to change the classifications in the OSAA from the current six classes to five beginning in the 2018-19 school year, the OSAA released a statement to school athletic directors on May 4th announcing that the committee will continue to move forward with idea there will be six classifications. 

According to the release, the 4A classification, where Cottage Grove High School currently is placed, would have been “most impacted by a possible move to a five classification system as it essentially splits their schools nearly in half. The 4A athletic directors voted 32 to 6 to keep a six classification system similar to how it looks currently for their schools,” the release said. 

The current six classifications divide 288 Oregon high school’s athletic and activity programs based off of a few factors, but is prominently based off of the enrollment size of the schools. Often, the smaller the school the lower the classification that school is placed in. 

Many larger schools, mostly in the 6A classification were in favor of a five classification association as opposed to the current six classifications. “They believe that a five classification approach with more schools in the classification provides more flexibility with league placements to address competitive balance concerns among their schools. Many 6A schools believe the current six classification system is broken and that long-term stability is better addressed in a five classification approach. Travel concerns were discussed, including the economic and academic impact of traveling for schools with higher SES factors and that some schools have fewer students participating due to lengthy travel,” the statement continued. 

Still, in the end there was not enough support to make the change. “While there is support from some Committee members for five classifications, the majority of the voting members of the committee are in favor of moving forward with a six classification approach. Based on testimony and written correspondence over the past several months, it’s evident that a majority of schools believe that a six classification approach works best for the students, schools, and communities in our state.” 

The release also went on to say smaller classifications such as the 2A school’s conversations centered around “belief it would be unfair from a competitive balance viewpoint to bring in a number of larger schools. It was also mentioned that some schools would face longer travel in a five classification system.” 5A schools “contend that the six classification system isn’t broken and, at most, needs a slight tweaking of cutoff points moving forward. This group believes that competitive balance is covered in the committee’s charge and they don’t see competitive balance occurring in a five classification approach.”

The committee will meet May 22 to discuss what will be the cutoff of enrollment points for each classification, as well as which schools will go in what leagues moving forward. 

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