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Changes expected to prep landscape

by: THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - A third proposal calls for a special 6A format for football, while all other prep sports would play under a 5A plan.

The OSAA is in the early phases of potential realignment to begin with the 2014-15 prep sports season.

The main emphasis in the process is to increase league sizes around the state to groupings of 8-10 schools.

“We’re early in the process, looking for input and trying to find some common ground,” Reynolds Athletics Director John Olsen said.

Seven years ago when the 6A model was introduced, leagues across the state were splintered leaving athletic directors scrambling to fill more than half their schedule with nonleague contests.

“Our biggest concern is league size,” Gresham AD Todd Nagel said. “With such small leagues putting together a schedule is difficult.”

Each of the new proposals call to reduce the number of leagues and eliminate the hybrid situation that grouped teams from different classifications together.

With new enrollment dividers, the 5A plan returns about a dozen smaller schools back to the highest level of play — most notably Sherwood which has become a powerhouse across numerous sports at the current 5A level.

“We don’t have enough schools in the state to support six classifications,” Barlow AD Terry Hanson said. “It just feeds that ‘give everyone a trophy’ mentality.”

The Mount Hood Conference would keep its core members in tact with the 6A model bringing Portland-area schools into the mix, while the 5A model adds Clackamas and Hermiston instead.

The OSAA’s next realignment meeting is set for 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28, in Wilsonville.

“There are a lot more questions than answers right now,” Nagel said.

Look for our expanded version, including models of the Mount Hood Conference, in the Dec. 28 print edition.



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