Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
MIDVALE — The school board members from across the state didn’t exactly grasp hands and sing "Kumbaya," but it was definitely the Robert's Rules of Order equivalent.
The Utah High School Activities Association's Board of Trustees took just two hours to reconfigure the state's 138 high schools into new classes and regions, and a unanimous vote capped an uncharacteristically jovial discussion.
It was as close to a group hug as it gets.
"I don't remember an alignment running better than this did today," said Rob Cuff, executive director for the Utah High School Activities Association. "I appreciate it. It wasn't perfect, but thank you for listening to those who had concerns."
The usual concerns surfaced as soon as schools were placed in a preliminary proposal two weeks ago — travel, preserving traditional and financially beneficial rivalries, competing against schools with similar demographics and populations, and regions that didn't contain too few or too many members. The BOT listened to principals, superintendents and athletic directors at a public hearing Wednesday night.
This realignment was different for one significant reason — football was aligned separately into six classes, while all other sports were aligned in five classifications.
Interestingly, that may have made placing schools in regions a little easier, although the discussion about how to make 1A football the most viable was significant.
Some significant changes were: Judge Memorial will now compete in 4A in all sports except football, and the Bulldogs will compete in Region 6. Hillcrest moves to 5A and will compete in a region that includes Hunter, Taylorsville, Granger, Cottonwood and West.
Payson moves to 3A in all sports except football and to 3AA in football. The Lions will compete in a region with Carbon, Juab, North Sanpete and Richfield in most sports and with the St. George schools in football.
Carbon and Canyon View were allowed to move down to 3A football with Carbon in a league with Emery, Grantsville, Judge, Morgan and Union, while Canyon View competes against Delta, Juab, Manti, North Sanpete and Richfield.
In 3AA football, the northern region will be Bear River, Ben Lomond, Juan Diego, Park City, Stansbury, Tooele and Uintah. The south region will be Cedar, Dixie, Desert Hills, Hurricane, Payson, Pine View and Snow Canyon.
1A football got a boost when BOT members moved Kanab into the south region in which Diamond Ranch, Monticello, Monument Valley and Whitehorse compete. Altamont, Duchesne, Milford and Rich make up the north region.
In 2A football, Beaver, Enterprise, Grand, North Sevier, Parowan and San Juan make up the south region, while American Leadership, Gunnison, Layton Christian, Millard, North Summit, South Summit and Summit Academy make up the north region.
Several proposals were discussed on reconfiguring 5A and 4A, but in the end only a 5A option prevailed.
It was dubbed the Jerry Haslam proposal because the Granger principal, who also sits on the BOT, presented two alignments after talking with other 5A principals. Region 1 stayed the same, but his north/south alignment changed the other three regions. Region 2 is now Cottonwood, Granger, Hillcrest, Hunter, Taylorsville and West. Region 3 is Alta, Bingham, Brighton, Copper Hills, Jordan and West Jordan. Region 4 is American Fork, Lone Peak, Pleasant Grove, Lehi, Westlake, Riverton and Herriman.
Rick Bojak, who represents the Jordan School District, tried to convince the board to keep the Jordan schools together, but they couldn't find an option that made sense as there are five Utah County schools — not enough for a separate region — and Herriman is closest to Westlake and Lehi.