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Here we go again

The Oregon School Activities Association is at it again.

The last time the governing body for interscholastic sports started tinkering with league lineups, Medford's high schools wound up in a conference with schools in Eugene. Now, if the latest OSAA proposal is eventually adopted, Medford student athletes will travel to Bend and Redmond for games.

The reverse, it should be pointed out, would also be the case. Bend and Redmond school officials are, like Medford administrators, less than enamored with the latest proposal.

When the OSAA changed to a six-class structure two years ago, the move was met with howls from the big schools in Southern Oregon and elsewhere because it meant longer travel times and more missed classes for students. But as athletic directors from small schools pointed out at the time, their students routinely endured six-hour trips one way when, for instance, Cave Junction teams traveled to Lakeview for games. That restructuring was a good thing for those schools.

Now, however, the OSAA's classification and districting committee appears to have decided that having more teams in each conference is worth the imposition of Medford-to-Redmond bus trips.

The 6A schools, which include North and South Medford, have come up with a counter-proposal that would end the six-class system in favor of five classes. Under that plan, Crater would once again compete in the same conference with the Medford schools, along with Springfield's Thurston High School.

The five-class proposal may or may not fly; OSAA member schools last spring voted overwhelmingly in favor of staying with six classes, although a clear majority of 6A schools voted to pare down to five.

There are two pieces of good news this time around: The OSAA floated the latest proposal 10 months ahead of the deadline to make a decision for the 2010-2011 season, allowing opponents plenty of time to make their wishes known, and to present their own proposals. The second good sign was a comment from OSAA Assistant Executive Director Pete Weber after the redistricting committee met Monday.

"I think the goals of sending out the first proposal were met in that we got plenty of feedback," Weber told The Oregonian. "Just because people say they want bigger leagues, bigger leagues just for the sake of bigger leagues maybe isn't the answer."

We couldn't agree more.