The OSAA board voted Monday, unanimously, to approve a motion moving Oregon schools to new size classifications. For Eugene, that mostly means that Bethel’s Willamette High School and the Wolverines’ athletics will move from 5A to 6A for the 2014-15 school year.
The decision will affect athletic districts for the next four years starting next fall. It’s been debated hotly over the entire past year, as schools have been concerned with the changes that would have led to more mileage on road trips.
Headlining the changes was the elimination of hybrid leagues, such as the Portland Interscholastic League’s 5A-6A split which had seven schools in 5A and two schools — Grant and Lincoln — in 6A.
The PIL will elect to play at 6A. Some leagues will not be so lucky, as the Southwestern Conference will be nixed and replaced by the Southern Oregon Conference. Willamette will leap for 6A to join Sheldon, South Eugene and Thurston.
The moves mean Oregon’s 5A designation shrinks to 33 schools.
Postseason plans for the new Oregon order are still in flux, but the committee has three more meetings to finalize playoffs by February.