Proposals for both six and five classifications remain under consideration for the OSAA classification and districting committee, which began meeting last month.
The OSAA sent updated drafts of both proposals to the schools Friday as it moves forward in the plan for the four-year time block that begins in 2022-23.
The committee revised the drafts this week after meeting Monday. It will meet again Oct. 11, Nov. 1 and Nov. 22 before presenting a final recommendation to the executive board Dec. 13.
“We're still looking for feedback from schools,” OSAA executive director Peter Weber said. “We haven't gotten a ton, but we anticipate that we'll get some more because we're heading for the halfway point of the process.”
The six-classification proposal would keep schools from Bend and the Salem area together in the 6A Mountain Valley Conference. The five-classification plan would have the Bend schools in a conference with those from the Eugene area and southern Oregon.
Representatives from Salem schools testified Monday about remaining in a league with Bend schools.
“They're not in favor of going to Bend,” Weber said.
Under the five-classification proposal, the Metro League would add Lake Oswego, Lakeridge, Tigard and Tualatin. The big-school classification would have 62 schools, among them current 5A football powers West Albany, Wilsonville, Silverton and Thurston.
Five classifications would be a tectonic shift.
“As the committee looks at trying to meet some of the charges, it's certainly something that's been brought up,” Weber said. “There seems to be some level of interest in it. I don't know if there's heavy momentum or not. It's been tough to engage schools just because everybody is so busy.”
A major selling point of the five-classification plan is it would create bigger leagues and give schools more flexibility with scheduling, allowing them to compete locally more often.
“That could be a way for people to embrace that,” Weber said.
Some of the notable changes in the updated six-classification plan include Willamette moving up to 6A, Molalla and Cottage Grove climbing to 5A and Scappoose and La Salle Prep going back down to 4A. Also, Banks and Clatskanie would drop to 3A and 2A, respectively.
Potential championship 'modifications'
The OSAA alerted schools this week that it is discussing options if it needs to alter championship schedules and formats for fall sports to mitigate COVID-19 exposure.
According to the memo, possible modifications could be “adjusting the number of playoff rounds held at school sites, creating larger time gaps at sites where multiple teams are competing, and expanding the number of days of an event.”
For example, volleyball could cut back on eight-team state tournaments and football and soccer could add more time between games for doubleheaders and tripleheaders to avoid overlapping crowds.
“There could be some modifications coming and we don't want to catch people off-guard,” Weber said. “At the same time, the board is committed to having state championships.”
Weber said that it is unclear if the state cross country championships will be affected by Lane Community College's recent decision to incorporate remote instruction for the first half of fall term.
From the memo:
“In recent weeks, several OSAA State Championships venues including the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and the University of Portland have mandated that individuals 12 years of age and older attending and/or participating in events at their venue(s) must provide proof of vaccination or have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event.
The Executive Board is aware of these developments and has been advised that other state championship facilities may implement similar policies depending on the extent of COVID-19 infections in their region.
Schools should prepare now for the potential that spectators and qualifying participants at OSAA State Championships in some activities may have to comply with additional COVID-19 mitigation efforts that could include providing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.”