OSAA

As the Oregon School Activities Association’s Classification and Districting Committee nears its final proposal for sports leagues around the state for the next four years, Marshfield and North Bend appear headed toward being in the same league.

The committee’s latest proposal didn’t make any changes from the previous one in terms of South Coast schools.

It drops North Bend from Class 5A to Class 4A, in the Sky-Em League along with Marshfield, Cottage Grove, Junction City and Marist Catholic.

The Committee will meet again Nov. 22 and make its final proposal to the OSAA Executive Board on Dec. 13.

The latest proposal came out following a meeting held Monday. North Bend athletic director Mike Forrester spoke to the committee via Zoom during the meeting and said the school district supports the change after the Bulldogs have spent the current four-year time block in the Midwestern League.

Forrester spoke about the significance of North Bend dropping down to Class 4A in terms of travel time and budget and also in terms of competitive balance.

He noted that in the current format, all of North Bend’s league trips are more than 100 miles one way, from 104 miles to Willamette and Churchill to more than 180 to Ashland.

“One hundred miles is a long trip,” Forrester said. “Sometimes that has to be done just because of where people are at. But we think that should be the exception, not the expectation.”

As far as the budget, Forrester said that before the school became part of the Midwestern League again, the travel budget was $49,500 a year and the school never came close to spending it all.

“The last four years, we have upped our travel budget to $95,000 and we spend almost all of that $95,000,” Forrester said.

Forrester also noted that competitive balance is important. Aside from the volleyball team that reached the Class 5A quarterfinals, many of North Bend’s squads have struggled in the Midwestern League.

He supported the previous proposal and one from Marshfield athletic director Greg Mulkey that also would put Newport in the Sky-Em League.

“We feel those proposals would put us in a league that is very competitive for us,” he said.

Forrester also encouraged the committee to consider the “human factor,” pondering whether to ask schools to travel so far when it isn’t necessary.

His other big point regarded the concept of North Bend and Marshfield being in the same league. They were in the past in the Midwestern League and again in the Far West League after North Bend first moved down a classification as its enrollment dropped and then Marshfield did. North Bend moved up for the current time block because the school was a little larger, but now the two Bay Area schools are about the same size again.

“When I look at us not being in the same league as Marshfield, it’s ridiculous,” Forrester said.

As far as other South Coast schools, the new proposal, like previous ones, puts Coquille back up in Class 3A, as part of a large Far West League.

Myrtle Point would drop to Class 1A as part of the Skyline League along with Powers and Pacific.

Siuslaw would drop down to Class 3A as part of the Mountain Valley Conference.

And the Class 2A Sunset Conference would be down to five teams with Coquille and Myrtle Point moving out — Bandon, Gold Beach, Reedsport, Waldport and Toledo.

During the meeting, Toledo athletic director Bart Rothenberger asked the committee to consider putting Oakland in the Sunset Conference so it would have six teams and the Central Valley Conference also would have six teams. But the committee ultimately left the Sunset Conference with five schools, at least for now.

To view the entire proposal, visit www.osaa.org and check the committees section under the governance tab.

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