by Scott Boyle
Disappointingly, under the smug appellation of “parity”, the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) approved a process to create six sports and activities classifications effective in the 2017-18 school year.
There are five classifications today (six for football).
The proposal basically creates 21 team classifications for 1A, 2A, and 3A, which will then be divided into three regions of seven teams each.
It appears that all Region 19 schools, including the San Juan School District’s Monticello, San Juan, Whitehorse, Navajo Mountain and Monument Valley, could be significantly affected by the new alignments.
The final alignment changes will be determined in the fall, based upon school enrollment on October 1, 2016. If 2014 enrollment numbers were used, San Juan would move to 3A, along with Grand and Emery high schools.
Monticello, Whitehorse and Pinnacle will move to 2A, leaving Monument Valley an island and Green River a stepsister in 1A. Navajo Mountain and Lake Powell high schools will remain as associate members of UHSAA.
A proposal to allow schools with more than 55 percent free and reduced lunch students to move down a classification might allow Whitehorse to remain in 1A.
The plan doesn’t pass the smell test, in SportShorts’ opinion.
The final region assignments will be one of the last decisions to be made, but it is highly likely that local students will travel significantly farther than in the past. Time will tell.
“Parity” is apparently a goal of equalizing the playing field so more schools have a chance to win state championships, particularly the state’s smallest schools.
A noble thought perhaps, but 1A, home to the little brothers and sisters of high school sports, could actually move away from parity.
Why? Panguitch High School would likely dominate 1A sports.
If you take out the eight schools that are possibly moving to 2A, Panguitch would currently have eight state titles in just ten sports in the past year.
In fact, in state tournament action for the entire year, Panguitch would have lost only two games, heartbreaking semifinal losses in baseball and boys basketball.
“Parity?” In 1A, instead of parity, a dynasty could be crowned.
Fine then, the complaining is over. It is what it is, regardless of how it looks.
Ultimately, the ball is thrown in the air and the kids play, the coaches coach, us adults watch and we all enjoy, win or lose.
Just don’t call it parity.