Schools call for caution with proposal to split 6A
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Monday, December 03, 2012
12/03/12 at 4:57 AM
Large-school administrators are urging the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association to move slowly on a proposal that would divide Class 6A football into two 16-team championship classifications.
The OSSAA Board of Directors is expected to consider the issue during Wednesday's monthly meeting, with an option of sending it to the state's 32 largest high schools for ratification.
Union athletic director Emily Warren has mailed a letter to board members urging caution on the matter. She said the letter is endorsed by various athletic directors representing 6A schools across the state.
"We're not saying the recommendation isn't valid, but we're not sure it's ready," Warren said. "Four weeks ago, it wasn't even on the radar, and now our fear is that at Wednesday's board meeting, they're going to send it out for a vote."
Jenks athletic director Tony Dillingham said, "I think there's a lot of concern on both sides of the state. We're asking that the board not jump into a vote ... because we don't feel it's been researched enough."
OSSAA Executive Director Ed Sheakley disagreed.
"I know there's a lot of concern by some of the 6A schools that this not be done in haste," Sheakley said. "But I can assure you that our committee spent a lot of time on this issue in several meetings, and this is what they felt like was the best plan."
Developed by the OSSAA's Constitution and Rules Review Committee, the plan addresses the disparity in relative student enrollment between the largest and smallest schools in the class, Sheakley said.
Broken Arrow, the largest school in the state with an average daily membership (ADM) of 4586.21, is almost four times larger than Edison (1239.83), the smallest school in the class.
The issue has generated "a lot of outcry over the years from 6A schools, primarily those (on the lower end), about the disparity in numbers and resources," Sheakley said. "And I'm sure that some of it has to do with the domination of the east side teams in football, especially the Big Two."
Jenks and Union have combined to win the last 17 state football titles in the class. Jenks clinched the 2012 crown with Friday's 55-20 win over Norman North, claiming its 10th gold ball since 1996.
Union has won the previous four state titles and seven since 2002.
Broken Arrow, Union, Jenks and Owasso claimed all four semifinal playoff spots in 2011 and three of the four in 2012.
The plan would divide 6A into two championship divisions, each with two eight-team districts. Twelve teams in each class would make the playoffs, and district champions and runners-up would receive first-round byes.
Eastern administrators are concerned because Jenks, Union, Broken Arrow and Owasso would be isolated with 12 western teams in the new "7A" classification. They are unsure what that would mean to the issue of travel expenses and non-district scheduling.
Sheakley said the OSSAA studied similar situations in Texas and Arkansas. Roughly speaking, both states intermingle schools in the largest classifications for district play to facilitate more ease in scheduling, but separate the larger from the smaller schools for postseason purposes.
Mike Brown 918-581-8390