Eagles, Ashland caught in hybrid with 6-A teams

Discussion that began over two years ago has apparently been finalized with regard to the classification of school activities and athletics by the OSAA. And, despite a valiant effort on the part of District 9 and  Ashland School District, both teams will be placed in what will be called a 6A-A Southern Oregon Hybrid.

School has been classified by student numbers and location. One of the reasons behind the original concept was to cut down on travel.

However, for schools like Eagle Point and Ashland, this places them in a higher student population bracket. They will be back with teams that once made the Southern Oregon Conference.  The schools (now called 6A) and their student numbers today are: Crater (2498), Grants Pass (1789), No. Medford (1665), Roseburg (1806) and  So Medford (1746).  Ashland (1021) and Eagle Point (1122) will be in the conference as 5A schools.

Eagle Point and later Ashland, tried to get put in the 4A league. That would have put them two to three hundred students more than the largest 4A schools, such as Hidden Valley and Mazama. OSAA rejected that proposal.

EPHS Athletic Director Tim Rupp said Eagle Point met a lot of the criteria except for enrollment. However,  Rupp said Eagle Point is not obligated to play 6A. Now as a 5A team softball and baseball plays North and South Medford.

Rupp said the Midwestern League, which has two 6A and six 5A teams have asked Eagle Point to be part of their schedule next year. It would involve going to Eugene numerous times, said Rupp, but he is meeting with them in mid-November to discuss options.

“We felt we wanted to be very pro active to do the best for the kids, but southern Oregon is geographically challenged,” said Rupp. He also spoke of the concern with teams such as football. There are a  number of sophomores showing positive improvement. Rupp said this placement could be discouraging. He said their self esteem would be affected by being placed with schools that have around 1800 students. ‘We will just keep trying to do what is best for our kids,” said Rupp.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent

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