Small schools lobby UHSAA for six classifications
Level Competition • Board expected to finalize decision Thursday.
Published: March 22, 2012 11:58AM
Updated: March 28, 2012 04:26PM

Midvale • High schools in rural areas would be better served to travel farther to play sports rather than compete against urban schools with twice as many students, a contingent of 2A and 3A administrators said Wednesday.

“We love playing these bigger schools and these urban schools,” Union athletic director Mike Ross said. “But we feel like we should have a chance to compete against schools that are like us.”

Ross was among a group that spoke at a public forum at the Utah High School Activities Association on a proposal to expand the state to six classifications for football. The UHSAA’s board of trustees is expected to finalize Thursday a format and procedure for its biannual realignment that incorporates the six-classification system.

Ross’s Cougars compete in 3A’s Region 10 against schools such as Wasatch, Park City, Judge Memorial and Juan Diego. Playing those schools makes Union’s teams better, Ross said, but they’ll never be able to beat them.

“It does have an affect on school spirit student and participation,” he said, “as well as hiring coaches and teachers.”

Ross, and others, advocated for a 6A system across the board, not just for football.

3A is the only classification among the top three in which the enrollment ratio between biggest to smallest schools is greater than two.

“When we look at every time we’ve been beaten out this year,” Millard principal Dennis Alldredge said,” it’s been by one of those bigger schools.”

Juan Diego Catholic principal Galey Colosimo cautioned the board to not forget the urban schools in their decision. Schools such as his face obstacles, too, that rural schools don’t . He cited the fact that his school has 120 boys who play lacrosse, and therefore can’t play other sports. Pointing out Morgan, Ogden and Ben Lomond, schools that are within a reasonable travel distance but could, theoretically, be separated if 3A were split.

“There are arguments on the urban side of the equation that may somewhat equalize the arguments on the rural side of the equation,” he said.

Colosimo suggested determining the split of schools not just on the enrollment ratio, but also a travel ratio, so schools near one another that were reasonably close in enrollment would play one another.

“If you’re going to be creative and you’re going to have a proposal like this,” Colosimo said, “which I commend you for, don’t just be partially creative, be really creative.”

He then suggested continuing with one 3A in the regular season and then separating to a 3A-A and a 3A-B in the postseason, so the more successful teams would play for one championship, while the teams that struggled would play for a second. ‘

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