OSSAA wants further discussion on plan to split Class 6A
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Thursday, December 06, 2012
12/06/12 at 5:18 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - A proposal that would divide Class 6A football into two 16-team championship classifications is on hold for now.
Following about 15 minutes of discussion Wednesday, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association's board of directors voted on two motions, sending the issue back to committee for further study.
Reached by phone, Union athletic director Emily Warren said, "I'm excited that we're going to get a chance to look at some of the other ideas that are out there."
Warren was one of several Class 6A athletic directors who urged the board to proceed with caution on the matter, along with Jenks' Tony Dillingham, Broken Arrow's Ken Ellett and others.
The plan, developed by the OSSAA's Constitution and Rules Revision committee, divides the state's 32 largest high schools into two classifications as a way of closing the gap in enrollment between the largest and smallest schools in the class.
Broken Arrow, with more than 4,500 students, is almost four times larger than Tulsa Booker T. Washington with about 1,300 students.
"This was the most talked about item," of several issues taken up by the constitution committee, OSSAA executive director Ed Sheakley said.
Administrators from about a dozen schools watched as the board voted 7-6 against Yukon superintendent Bill Denton's recommendation to send the proposal to 6A schools for immediate ratification. Denton chairs the constitution committee.
Then, the board voted 6-5 on a motion by OKC Bishop McGuinness principal David Morton to send the matter back to committee.
Morton said splitting 6A is "(an) idea whose time has come, but it needs more discussion."
Morton said he hoped the OSSAA would consider splitting 6A in all sports and cited data backing up claims that the smallest schools in the class have little chance of competing for state titles on a consistent basis.
"It's not just in football," Morton said. "If you're going to do something with 6A, let's look at everything and not just cherry-pick football."
Jenks and Union have combined to win the last 17 Class 6A football titles, and schools currently in the upper half of 6A have won the last 16 baseball titles, 11 of the last 15 boys basketball titles and 10 of the last 15 girls basketball titles.
Whatever happens, it won't get done until at least the 2014 season, and possibly later than that.
The 2013 alignment is already set, and Sheakley said any new plan would need to be ratified by late spring to have any hope of implementation for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 realignment cycle.
It was not know when Denton's committee would recovene.
Under the plan, each new 16-team classification would have two districts of eight teams each, with 12 teams in each class qualifying for postseason play. District champions and runners-up would receive first-round playoff byes.
Such a split would leave Broken Arrow, Union, Jenks and Owasso - the state's four largest high schools - isolated in a new "7A" classification with 12 Oklahoma City-area schools.
Administrators worry about the increased travel, not to mention how a split would effect scheduling among current district and neighborhood rivals who find themselves in separate classes under the new plan.
With a similar problem, Arkansas intermingles its 32 largest schools for district competition, but separates the larger and smaller into two classes for postseason play.
Original Print Headline: OSSAA holds back proposal to split 6A for additional study
Mike Brown 918-581-8390