MIDVALE -- The future of Utah high schools sports will be up for debate this week as the Utah High School Activities Association considers adding a sixth classification for football beginning with the 2013 school year.
With an eye toward leveling the playing numbers among football teams, the UHSAA's Board of Trustees will consider an executive committee proposal to align the state's football teams into six divisions starting in 2013.
The executive committee voted unanimously last week to forward the recommendation. The Board of Trustees meet on Thursday.
Football is the primary area of concern because numbers impact success as well as health and safety concerns, officials say.
"Football seems to be where the heartburn is," UHSAA assistant director Bart Thompson said.
"We are looking at the issue partly for safety reasons. This will affect current 3-A and 2-A schools the most,"
The move would allow schools in all six classifications to draw from the same number of students. Currently, there is a big disparity at some schools within a classification. Thompson said the biggest disparity occurs in the 3-A and 2-A ranks.
UHSAA executive director Rob Cuff said the proposal doesn't necessarily mean the state is looking at moving to six divisions in all sports. It's not a step in that direction, he said.
If the Board of Trustees approves the proposal, there would be a public hearing later this year, with final decisions set for November. The regions and classifications woul be based on final student counts in the 2012 school year.
The proposal outlined the following number of schools in each football classification:
* 6-A would have 24 schools.
* 5-A would have 28 schools.
* 4-A would have 16 schools.
* 3-A would have 12 schools.
* 2-A would have 12 schools.
* 1-A would consist of the remaining participating schools.
The committee also proposed ranges for other sports in five classifications.
"Realigning is one of the things we have been looking at," Thompson said. " But that's the interesting thing about realignment. You can't change geography. We have some tough decisions to make."