The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Future league starts looking familiar


October 4, 2017

As the Oregon School Activities Association finalizes its plans for realigning the leagues in Oregon for the next four years, 2018-22, Sweet Home finds itself looking at some familiar company.

The OSAA Classification and Districting Committee held its final public meeting Sept. 25 to take testimony, which focused largely on cut-off points for school size in OSAA’s six divisions. The committee will send its final recommendations to the OSAA Executive Board at an Oct. 16 Special Classification and Districting Meeting.

The committee’s final proposal has Sweet Home in the Oregon West Conference with Newport, Philomath, Sisters, Stayton and Woodburn. Cascade would move to the 5A Mid-Willamette Conference.

For the Huskies, that is essentially a return to what essentially was the old Val-Co League, with the addition of the Outlaws and the Bulldogs.

Most redistricting is done based on school size, though schools may request to play up or down, which is what Woodburn, currently in the Mid-Willamette Conference, has done. The Bulldogs’ student body numbers 1,105, nearly triple that of Sisters (371) and nearly double the next-largest school, Sweet Home (610).

Marist moved up to the 5A Division in 2010, where the Spartans have been far less dominant than they were as a 4A team. Now they are requesting a return to 4A.

Cascade would essentially replace Woodburn in the current 5A Mid-Willamette Conference, which includes Lebanon and South Albany – despite the fact that the Cougars’ student body of 687 is about 150 less than the student bodies at Dallas and Central, the next-smallest schools in the league. North Salem, the largest, has 1,389. The Vikings petitioned to play down, as did West Albany (1253), which has not had the success at the 6A level the Bulldogs did in the 5A before their move up four years ago.

If approved by the Executive Board, that would leave the Mid-Willamette Conference with 10 teams.

The 3A Umpqua River Conference looks to be getting four current 4A teams: Cascade Christian and St. Mary’s (Medford), South Umpqua, Brookings-Harbor and Sutherlin. The first two notified the OSAA of their desire to play where their numbers dictate and are being returned to the 3A classification accordingly. Sutherlin’s student body is 325, well within the 3A parameters, as is South Umpqua’s (331), and Brookings‐Harbor (445) was granted a geographic exception to participate at the 3A classification based on their proximity to other schools at the 4A classification.

The last-minute jostling of teams has led to the return of the Sky-Em league, which was slated for extinction earlier in the spring. That league will, according to current plan, include Cottage Grove, Elmira, Junction City, Marist, Marshfield and Siuslaw.

The adjustment of 3A parameters at an Aug. 28 committee meeting resulted in Elmira (370) and Siuslaw (376) staying in the 4A. Other current 4A teams moving to the 3A are Douglas, which will move with Sutherlin to the Umpqua River Conference, Yamhill-Carlton and Burns.

The 5A level remains largely unchanged, though Crook County (693) will move back to the 5A Intermountain Conference with Columbia Gorge, Pendleton and Redmond-area schools. North Bend (702) is slated to move to the 5A Midwestern League, which includes Ashland, Churchill, Crater, Eagle Point, North Eugene, Springfield and Thurston.


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