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OSAA draft would move South Umpqua to Skyline

November 1, 2016 GMT

Every four years the Oregon School Activities Association goes through the process of drawing up revisions to its classification and districting plan.

The OSAA is in the early stages of that process looking toward changes for the four-year block beginning in 2018 and the committee tasked with the process released its first draft proposal last Thursday.

Actually, it released two drafts: a six-classification proposal and a five-class proposal.

In both cases, Roseburg High stays right where it is, in the largest classification playing in the Southwest Conference.

Where the changes will be felt the most is among the current 4A schools in Douglas County, in particular at South Umpqua High.

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“We’re not crazy about it,” S.U. Athletic Director Dave Ehrhardt said. “I’m in the process of sending something to (OSAA assistant executive director) Brad Garrett. It’s always difficult, Do we need six classes? I’ve got concerns on a couple of things.”

In both proposals, the Lancers would exit the Far West League and join the Skyline Conference or the Southern Cascade Conference. Gone would be the annual league rivalry game with Douglas. S.U. would be playing the likes of Henley, Mazama and Klamath Falls, North Valley, Hidden Valley and Phoenix; or Henley, Cascade Christian, Hidden Valley, Illinois Valley, North Valley, Mazama and St. Mary’s of Medford.

Douglas and Sutherlin would be reunited in a radically new Far West League. The FWL would feature Brookings-Harbor, Cottage Grove, Creswell, Elimira and Siuslaw.

That’s right, Brookings on the California border with the Pacific Ocean lapping at its front door, would be in the FWL while South Umpqua — barely 40 miles round trip from Sutherlin — would be in the Skyline.

“If you want to put anybody in the Skyline, put Brookings in the Skyline,” Sutherlin AD Josh Grotting said. “They’re proposals, and now that it’s out there (schools can provide feedback). The OSAA did a great job putting it out there early.”

S.U. would, Ehrhardt said, prefer to maintain the rivalry with Douglas and renew the rivalry with Sutherlin.

“We would like to stay with the likes of Douglas, Sutherlin, Siuslaw,” Ehrhardt said. “It’s more conducive travel for us and we have established rivalries.

“It’s tough with the geography of Oregon, you always have some outliers.”

Grotting said he will be attending future meetings of the classification and districting committee, making sure that Sutherlin’s concerns are well represented.

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“I like the five-class proposal,” Grotting said. “I’ll attend the meetings and try to give input and try to stay out in front of it a little bit.”

For other schools in the county, the changes aren’t as radical.

Glide drops to 2A in both proposals, joining a Sunset Conference comprised of: either Bonanza, Canyonville Christian Academy, Lost River, Milo Adventist and Riddle in the six-class proposal; or one made up of Bonanza, CCA, Lakeview, Lost River and Rogue River with five classes. The odd thing about the six-class proposal, only two of the schools in that alignment have active football 11-man teams.

Oakland and Reedsport are joined by Crow, Gold Beach, Lowell, Myrtle Point and Oakridge in the Mountain View Conference in six classes. In five classes, that league features Bandon, Coquille, Gold Beach, Myrtle Point and Oakridge along with the two Douglas County schools.

Riddle, which under the current enrollment cutoffs is a 2A school, sits on the cutoff between 2A and 1A in both proposals. In the five-class proposal, the Irish move to 1A and join the Skyline League along with Camas Valley, Days Creek, Glendale, Melrose, Milo Adventist, New Hope Christian, Pacific, Powers, Rogue Valley Adventist and Umpqua Valley Christian.

Under that five-class proposal, Elkton, North Douglas and Yoncalla all move to the Mountain West League, joining Alsea, Crow, Eddyville, Lowell, Mapleton, McKenzie, Mohawk, Oak Hill and Triangle Lake.

In the six-class proposal, all of the Douglas Country 1A schools are aligned in the Skyline. The biggest difference in the two proposals for 1A schools is the effect of the cutoff point. In six classes, that is 85 students; in five classes the cutoff is 99.

Which direction the OSAA goes with cutoff points and number of classifications will directly impact most of the schools in Douglas County.

“If you’re looking at the six-class model, we’re going to be close to under that number, so we may petition and that would put us with the Southern (Cascade) League,” Grotting said. “It just doesn’t make much sense to take three schools in the same county and not be in the same league together.”

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