MIDVALE — The second step in the Utah High School Activities Association’s realignment process is complete after the UHSAA Board of Trustees met for six hours Wednesday.
Among several big changes proposed, numerous proposals would affect Northern Utah high schools who will compete in the new alignment in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.
Wednesday’s proposal is the second consideration of classifications and the first consideration of regions. The next stage of the process is a public hearing at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Jordan High School followed by the final approval of the new alignment when the Board meets Dec. 6.
Here are some of the biggest things that happened Wednesday and what could happen next.
A rumor bubbled over the summer about the latest phase of realignment. It had to do with language in the UHSAA’s realignment procedures that were approved in March.
The language read, “1A-4A classifications shall have 3 regions (4 regions if deemed necessary by Board of Trustees) and regions may be reduced to divisions by the Executive Committee depending on the sport.”
On Wednesday, the Board did exactly that: shrink 4A from four regions to three in what amounted to the biggest change proposed so far.
It tentatively puts Ogden and Ben Lomond in a hodgepodge Region 10 with Tooele, Stansbury, Juan Diego, Uintah, Mountain View and Cedar Valley (in Eagle Mountain).
It happened due to numerous 4A schools moving to 5A or 3A. Those schools include Bonneville, current Region 11 foe Park City and Morgan (going to 3A after initially being a 4A non-bubble school, meaning it was essentially stuck in 4A).
The big difference would be an erosion of Ogden and Ben Lomond’s rivalry with Bonneville, as well as increased travel to Vernal (more than three hours) and Utah County.
Bear River’s placement with the six-school Cache Valley region is unchanged. What’s unclear about the proposed 4A setup is how playoff berths would be decided.
With two 8-school regions and one 6-school region, the top four seeds would only make a 12-team playoff bracket, which is something that will need to be addressed later.
Bonneville heading back up
Bonneville High was placed in the 5A classification in the first consideration, a move up from 4A. Lakers athletic director Lance Mimnaugh was present Wednesday and pitched the Board about why Bonneville should stay in 4A.
Some of those reasons included playoff qualification going from 36 percent to 91 percent when now aligned with what is currently 4A; a low athletic participation rate, partially affected by Weber School District’s junior-high leagues for ninth-graders; and 50 students going to the district’s alternative high school that count for BHS’ enrollment numbers.
That wasn’t enough to sway the Board. With Region 5 losing two schools to 6A, Region 5 needed Bonneville.
The Lakers previously competed against Bountiful, Woods Cross and Box Elder in the old 4A Region 5, so there’s familiarity there. The other additions to the region are East (for all sports except football) and Highland.
Region 1 full; Davis, Farmington go south
One of the big issues was whether or not Farmington would be 6A or 5A with an expected enrollment of 2,100 students next year. FHS principal Richard Swanson said the school’s enrollment will likely be lower than 2,100 next year due to a change in boundaries from Farmington’s feeder schools and a new junior high opening.
That fell on deaf ears. In Wednesday’s consideration, Farmington and Davis were placed in a brutal 6A Region 3 with Bingham, Corner Canyon, Riverton, Copper Hills and East (for football only).
They’re both going to Region 3 because they’re the southern-most 6A schools in Davis County and because Region 1 already has seven schools.
Roy, which tried to move down to 5A, appears to be moving up to 6A to join Weber, Fremont, Clearfield, Layton, Northridge and Syracuse in Region 1. A nine-school region is simply out of the question.
There’s a chance Davis and Farmington switch to Region 2, but it appears like the ideal geographic setup for the Davis School District is done for now.
1A football is gone
A problem arose (among hundreds) when looking at football classifications — 2A had six schools and 1A had eight. So the Board combined those and created a 14-school 2A football classification, doing away with the eight-school 1A football classification.
Layton Christian, which currently plays 1A football, has been tentatively placed into a 2A North division with Rich, Altamont, Duchesne, North Summit, Gunnison and North Sevier.
In another move, LCA administrator Greg Miller, who sits on the Board, made a motion to move LCA’s boys basketball team up to 3A, keep the other sports in 2A and have football in 1A (this was before 1A football got nixed).
LCA has previously tried to move boys basketball up one classification, most recently in February 2017. It’s a reasonable desire since LCA has won seven straight region titles and gone 67-1 in region games over that stretch. That motion fell 7-6 and LCA boys basketball will remain in 2A.
Proposed regions for area high schools
6A Region 1: Clearfield, Fremont, Northridge, Layton, Roy, Syracuse, Weber
6A Region 3: Davis, Farmington, Copper Hills, Bingham, Riverton, Corner Canyon, East (football only)
5A Region 5: Bonneville, Bountiful, Box Elder, Viewmont, Woods Cross, East (all sports except football), Highland
4A Region 10: Ogden, Ben Lomond, Tooele, Stansbury, Juan Diego (except football) Uintah, Mountain View, Cedar Valley
4A Region 11: Bear River, Logan, Sky View, Mountain Crest, Ridgeline, Green Canyon
3A Region 13: Morgan (3A North for football), Grantsville, Judge Memorial, South Summit, Summit Academy, Providence Hall
2A Region 16: Layton Christian, Altamont, Duchesne, North Summit, North Sevier, Gunnison
2A Region 17: St. Joseph, Utah Military, APA West Valley, Waterford, Rowland Hall, Wasatch Academy