Southern Oregon has been home to many prominent wrestling duals over the years, mostly thanks to the history of programs like Crater, Eagle Point...
The news was a little late getting to athletic directors Dave Fennell (Cascade Christian) and James Joy (St. Mary's) but the information given was well worth the wait Monday.
By a vote of 20-19, the Oregon School Activities Association delegate assembly rejected a proposal to use socioeconomic factors to adjust school enrollment numbers that would have greatly affected private institutions like the aforementioned Medford schools.
In order to go through, the proposal needed a two-thirds majority to pass, or 30 votes.
"That's huge," said Fennell, still not ready to claim victory until all information on the vote was made available. "If in fact that didn't go through that encourages me and is a good reminder why we fight these things through the correct process and are active participants in it."
The OSAA's Boundary/Non-Boundary Committee proposed the plan in hopes of developing an enrollment figure process that used multipliers and a reducer to reflect each school's socioeconomic standing.
For private schools, the proposal involved using a multiplier of 1.25 against their current average daily membership to develop a revised ADM tally, while a 1.05 multiplier would be used for charter schools as well as public schools with open enrollment.
"There was certainly concern among the private school system what the final effect of the 1.25 multiplier would be," OSAA executive director Tom Welter told the Oregonian's Jerry Ulmer on Monday. "At this point in time, we're not ready for that big of a change."
The proposal also required public schools to include home-schooled students who participate in activities as part of their enrollment. A reduction factor also played a part in the revised ADM process for all but the private schools. The others could have lowered their enrollment figures by multiplying the number of students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches by 25 percent and then subtracting that number from their total enrollment.
None of the proposal's features seemed equitable for the state's private schools, as Fennell and Joy pointed out in last week's Prep Notebook, and it was a deep sigh of relief Monday when they were informed of the delegate assembly's vote. Joy said St. Mary's would have been one of two Class 3A private schools (along with Valley Catholic) forced to move to the 4A level had the new ADM process been adopted.
The bulk of the affected private schools would have been at the 1A level, and Welter said that was not the intended desire for potentially making a change.
"If we were concerned about the competitive imbalance between boundary and non-boundary schools, this didn't affect the larger schools," he told the Oregonian. "It really only affected the smaller ones, many of whom aren't terribly successful athletically anyway at the 1A level."
The revised ADM process wouldn't have taken affect until Aug. 1, 2013, but was viewed as a key component in the reclassification process currently in committee through the OSAA.
In other action Monday, the delegate assembly opted not to accept a proposal to move back the start of the fall sports season to the day after Labor Day. The proposal was made on recommendation by the OSAA's sports medicine advisory committee, which had hoped to create one more week of practice time for fall sports participants, most notably those playing football, prior to the first contest.
Had it been adopted, schools would have lost the opportunity to play "zero week" games and, therefore, would have played one fewer game each season.
EAGLE POINT'S FOOTBALL got a bad break when the Class 5A play-in matchups were released Sunday.
The Eagles, ranked No. 22 in the 5A power rankings, should have a play-in date with the No. 11 team on Friday but instead will be playing at No. 9 Crescent Valley due to bad luck as much as anything.
The change was necessitated because Ashland, which beat the Eagles 27-14 last Friday, is ranked 11th in the final power poll. OSAA regulations stipulate that conference teams aren't allowed to meet in play-in or first-round playoff games if it is avoidable through a move of no more than three spots.
In the final power rankings, the Eagles were surrounded by No. 21 Parkrose, No. 23 Corvallis and No. 24 Pendleton. To accommodate the need for teams to travel no more than 250 miles — part of the 5A regulations — and not face programs from their own conference, Parkrose remained at No. 21 but Corvallis was moved to 22nd, Pendleton to 23rd and the Eagles to 24th.
Such a switch effectively made Eagle Point the last team to advance into the play-in round and set in motion a game against the first team to miss out on an automatic berth in the state playoffs, which came with a top-eight power ranking.
A WILLINGNESS TO punt doesn't typically show up on a coach's game plan, but that's been the case all season for North Medford head coach Mike Mitchell and was there for South Medford's Bill Singler last Friday when his team faced Crater.
Both coaches adopted such an approach after installing sophomore quarterbacks as their starters, with North utilizing Troy Fowler until he was sidelined last week by a concussion and South giving Craig Contreras his first start against the Comets.
"Decision-making was going to be his biggest deal and I thought he was great in that area," Singler said after Friday's 27-7 win over Crater. "He got us out of some bad plays into better plays, he took a sack when he had to and he didn't just throw the ball up for grabs because we felt like punting was good in this game."
Contreras wound up completing 13 of 18 passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns and was sacked three times for a 21-yard loss. Panthers punter Pat Alexander was used five times for a 37.6-yard average, with Eric Wallan and Max Farthing each recovering a loose ball after the Comets couldn't secure a punt.
"I just told Craig to just relax because the team will rally around you," said Singler. "We've just got to manage the game and keep the clock moving and take the plays as they come and not beat ourselves."
Although he battled some nerves in making his first varsity start, Contreras said he was set at ease by the preparation he received from his coaches and the support he got from his teammates throughout the week and during the game.
"They all just made it a good time out there," he said.
More of the same will be expected in two weeks when the Panthers open the Class 6A state playoffs, and Singler said he expects Contreras will again rise to the challenge.
"It's great for him to get a start and get a win under his belt and he'll be much better next time out," said the coach. "The kids have a lot of confidence in him and the coaches have a lot of confidence in him. We've just got to keep going one day at a time."
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry