Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
No promises or guarantees were made — really there wasn't much feedback at all — but St. Mary's Athletic Director James Joy did his best to persuade a state committee on Monday that it deserves to remain at the Class 3A level.
Along with numerous school administrators and athletic directors, Joy met with the Oregon School Activities Association classification and district committee on Monday in Wilsonville and set out the Crusaders' reasons for the group not to adopt their latest proposal, the ninth overall in a process dating back more than a year.
In proposal No. 9, St. Mary's found itself grouped among the Skyline Conference schools at the 4A level. None of the eight previous proposals called for the school to be outside the 3A classification.
"It went as well, I guess, as can be expected," Joy said of his five-minute testimony before the committee. "The interesting thing is they went by classification so they asked for 1A schools and nobody got up and I was surprised by that. Then nobody in the 2A was there with concerns either. But when they got to 3A, things really got kinda rocking and rolling."
St. Mary's actually was the first group to kick off the public testimony portion of the meeting. Each contingent is allowed a five-minute time limit to get their point across, and then the next group goes and so on.
"What we had in our favor is we sent our letter detailing our position before the previous meeting (on Sept. 23)," said Joy, "so they had already read it. When we had our five minutes, we just highlighted the points that we thought were very important and asked for any questions or clarifications."
St. Mary's main point of emphasis was to show that the average daily membership (ADM) figures the OSAA committee adopted to use for its last proposal didn't provide a true glimpse of the private school's typical enrollment. Whereas the previous ADM figure of 302 had the Crusaders well below the cutoff point of 324 for 3A schools, the adjusted 2012-13 ADM totals adopted for the most recent proposal placed St. Mary's at 330.
Joy said the raise in ADM figure didn't adequately represent St. Mary's, which has an additional international program that goes beyond its already maxed out boarding school facility at Southern Oregon University.
Joy said he had been in contact with a number of people on the committee and a few members of the delegate assembly over the past week so "a lot of them already knew where we were coming from and why."
Still, Joy couldn't get a glimmer of insight into what the committee may return with when its 10th proposal is likely announced in the next few days.
"I would say that the committee would probably all be very good poker players," he said. "There was not any rolling of eyes or head nodding or head shaking as we were presenting, and that went for all the classifications and all the remaining testimony that was given. They were pretty impressive with their lack of response to anything that was being said during that public testimony."
The committee met for a work session Monday after the public testimony to consider its options. It could schedule another session to hear public testimony, but that seems unlikely at this late of a date. The committee is expected to give its final recommendation to the OSAA's Executive Board on Oct. 28 for the four-year time block that starts in 2014-15.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry