MIDVALE — A year after a sixth classification was introduced to Utah high school football, the Utah High School Activities Association is tweaking how teams are placed in classifications.
The UHSAA’s board of trustees almost unanimously approved a success rate formula Thursday that will be applied to the next round of realignment this November in football only.
Enrollment will still be the baseline that determines which classifications schools compete in, but those enrollment numbers will now increase or decrease a certain percentage based on playoff success during the previous four years.
UHSAA assistant director Bart Thompson spent several months helping create the formula, which he said will definitely bump teams up and down between classifications. The complicated formula assigns team points for playoff success and adjusts compared to the statewide average.
“We set about to create some type of system that would account for (success) without skewing things dramatically, and I feel like we did that. Now whether that’s the best way to go is yet to be seen. We’ll see how that works over the next couple years,” said Thompson.
There was only one dissenting vote to the proposal at the board of trustees meeting on Thursday, a 2A representative.
Because realignment will still be based on enrollment, Thompson said the formula was designed to make it mathematically impossible for a school to bump up or down more than one classification.
“Obviously the schools that have the best chance of moving are those that are obviously at the edge of a classification, but even that we haven’t decided where those edges are going to be,” said Thompson.
For years, many schools have talked about how graduation rates, poverty rates, transient rates, etc., should be factored into realignment discussions, and Thompson believes that using success rate accomplishes all of that.
Playoff success from 2010 to 2013 will be used in November’s success rate realignment.
Teams without a playoff victory over the past four years who were near the bubble of dropping up or down a classification in the last round of realignment in November of 2012 are almost assured of moving down for the 2015 season. That’s great news for teams like Ogden, Hillcrest and Carbon.
The reverse is true for teams who’ve enjoyed tremendous playoff success in their classification during the past four years. Timpview could easily be bumped up to 5A under the new formula, while Duchesne might also be bumped up to 2A.
Thompson said that because the classification sizes in 2A and 1A are small, the likelihood of teams moving up and down is small but definitely still possible.
The board of trustees approved another proposal Thursday that will impact realignment. Once the UHSAA determines the maximum number of teams in each classification and then receives enrollment figures, teams within 5 percent of the next level up in enrollment will now be considered tied. Previously that percentage was 3.
For teams who are tied in enrollment, the BOT ultimately determines which classification to place teams in after hearing the suggestions from the schools.
Travel time and costs, time out of school and traditional rivalries will certainly still be factored into realignment discussions for teams on the bubble.