A proposed realignment of Utah's 13 high school regions has been recommended by a study committe to the Utah High School Activities Association's legislative council.
The council, which rejected a previous realignment proposal earlier this year, is scheduled to discuss the current recommendation at its Jan. 11 meeting. At that time, it can adopt, revise or reject the recommended realignment.The realignment is "the most volatile issue that we've ever faced," said UHSAA Assistant Director David Wilkey, mindful of the strong opinions that have surfaced since realignment has been considered.
The proposal is the second recommendation offered by the study committee, which has totaled 15 months in its effort. A previous proposal with more sweeping changes was rejected by the legislative council earlier this year, with the study committee asked to return to its task.
Among the major changes, Box Elder drops from 4A to 3A, while Union and Lehi step up to 3A from 2A status. Also, South Summit, Beaver, Kanab, Gunnison and North Sevier move from 1A to 2A.
Some shuffling of teams between regions within their current size classification is proposed, but the realignment is minor compared to a major alignment overhaul proposed to and rejected by the legislative council earlier this year.
The previous realignment proposal called for Bountiful and Woods Cross to drop to 3A, with Provo, Timpview and Pleasant Grove moving up to 4A to create a league with Utah County's existing 4A trio of American Fork, Mountain View and Orem.
In addition to the realigned regions, the study committee also recommends the following guidelines: - that realignment be conducted every four years, rather than every two years as currently allowed. Incidently, the existing alignment has lasted for twice the two-year period as realignment updates have been discussed and debated.
- that enrollment limits for 1A schools be 0 to 175 students, for 2A schools 176 to 550 students, for 3A schools 551 to 1,199 students, and for 4A schools a minimum of 1,200 students.
- that while the enrollment limits be considered no-question cutoffs for 1A and 2A classifications, geographic location, competitive abilities and other intangibles will not make the enrollment limits absolute for the 3A and 4A classifications.
Region alignments are based on school size, competitiveness and location, with the UHSAA hoping for a minimum of travel between region members. Of the latter, "that's not always possible in this state," Wilkey added.
Schools experiencing substantial changes in enrollment can petition for a change in region membership, he added.