What the OSAA league changes mean for local teams

Photos by Kendrick Murphy/CG Sentinel

Starting in the fall of 2022 the Sky-Em league where Cottage Grove currently plays and the Mountain Valley Conference that Creswell is a part of will look a little differently for the next four years going into 2026. Cottage Grove has been a part of the Sky-Em league since the 1998-99 season while Creswell joined the Mountain Valley conference in 2014-15 after previously being in the PacWest conference since 2006. 

Every four years the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) changes the athletic league formatting for Oregon schools based on some changing factors. The decisions were made mostly on three factors for this 2022-26 block, ninth through eleventh-grade enrollment, three-year student average, and a socio-economic factor that was tied into free/reduced lunches in schools. All three were put into a formula to help shape the way the leagues were decided. 

After the end of the spring season, Cottage Grove will see Elmira and Siuslaw depart from the Sky-Em as both school’s transition to 3A.

But the Lions now will see the North Bend Bulldogs join their league after moving down from their 5A classification making the Sky-Em league consist of a total of five teams Cottage Grove, Junction City, Marist, Marshfield and North Bend. 

For Creswell, three new teams will join their league as the Mountain Valley will grow in size with its new members. Former 4A schools, Elmira, Siuslaw and Sisters will now compete in a 3A league with Creswell, Harrisburg, Pleasant Hill and La Pine. 

“With Siuslaw dropping down they’re in the same county (Lane), so it makes sense for them to be part of our league,” said Creswell Athletic Director Brandon Standridge. “We usually play Elmira in the preseason for pretty much everything, so it also makes sense for them to be in our league. I would say Sisters joining our league was probably the biggest surprise for me. But otherwise, I’m pretty okay with our league.”

Standridge added: “I think it’s good for us to have a bigger league. You know, when you only have five teams in the league and you play everyone twice (during basketball season) that’s only eight league games. So, we ended up having more non-league games than league games every season. So, it’s going to be nice to kind of even that out and be closer to half and half.”

For Elkton, North Douglas and Yoncalla the Skyline league that all three teams are a part of will only see one change for the upcoming block. The Myrtle Point Bobcats will be leaving the 2A Sunset conference to join the Skyline league that will now consist of 13 total schools going into the fall of 2022. 

With the new leagues finalized for the next four years, the only domino that remains will be the football conferences which are currently being worked on by a separate committee. And the targeted timeline for the committee to wrap up its final revisions will be in February. 

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