MIDVALE — Facing an impossible task, the Utah High School Activities Association’s Board of Trustees simply embraced the fact that they will never be able to make every school happy with how they divide high schools into regions and did what they could to balance individual requests with state-wide interests.
The new alignment was approved Thursday morning, over only a handful of objections, and will go into effect in the fall of 2017 for two school years. It means major unwanted changes for some schools like Milford, Wayne, Bingham and Timpview. While others — in fact, a majority of schools making special requests —were given situations they requested, like Lehi football moving from 4A Region 10 to 5A Region 6, Davis moving from Region 2 (all Salt Lake County schools) to Region 1 (now a seven-team northern Utah region) and Juan Diego moving from 3A to 4A in all sports except football, competing in Region 11.
The trustees divided into two bodies — one representing 1A through 3A and one representing 4A through 6A — and hammered out individual issues that were raised at last night’s public hearing on a proposed alignment.
In the absence of compelling new evidence or information, the trustees opted to leave the regions as they proposed last week.
That meant leaving Milford in Region 21 and Wayne in Region 19. Both of those 1A schools now compete in Region 20, and each wanted to preserve traditional rivalries that mean more money from ticket sales. That revenue helps pay for a school’s athletics and activities, and administrators worried that in addition to increases in travel time, reduced ticket sales would hurt their ability to fund even basic programs.
Region 20 representative Mike Savage pleaded a compelling case for both Wayne and Milford, but in the end, it was better for the whole of 1A for those schools to move into different regions.
He was the lone dissenter on the 1A proposal.
The other major changes involved separating football programs from the classification in which a school’s other sports compete. Juan Diego football will remain in 3A’s South Division (with Juab, Manti, North Sanpete, Richfield and Summit Academy), but all other sports will move to 4A’s Region 11, competing against Ben Lomond, Bonneville, Ogden, Park City, Stansbury, and Tooele.
East football will compete in 6A’s Region 3 against Copper Hills, Taylorsville, Herriman, Riverton and West Jordan. Taylorsville moved in all sports from Region 2 to Region 3 to accommodate a request from Cyprus to move from Region 3 to Region 2.
That move allowed Cyprus to preserve traditional rivalries with Hunter, Granger and Kearns.
Davis was the lone school from Davis County in Region 2, and the trustees opted to move Davis into Region 1 because the Darts had the support of both Region 1 and Region 2 principals for the change.
That means Region 1 is a seven-team region, but will still only qualify four teams for state, even though Region 2 and 4 will only have five-team regions for all sports. Region 3 will have a five-team region for all sports except football because of East High’s participation.
After passing unanimously, the trustees talked about the possibility of exploring regional play with seeding determining playoffs instead of the current system. That would allow schools to play crosstown rivals, regardless of size, and save on travel when that was a school’s concern.
Because of Utah’s vast geographic and socio-economic diversity, each school prioritizes those aspects of determining regions differently. For some schools, travel costs are their top concerns. For others, it’s staying with rivals to preserve healthy gate receipts.
And for some schools, the ability to be competitive is the top priority when determining league placement.
Clearfield, Fremont, Layton, Northridge, Syracuse, Weber, Davis
Granger, Hillcrest, Hunter, Kearns, Cyprus
Copper Hills, West Jordan, Herriman, Riverton, Taylorsville (East football only)
American Fork, Bingham, Lone Peak, Pleasant Grove, Westlake
Bountiful, Box Elder, Roy, Viewmont, Woods Cross
East (except football), Highland, Lehi (football only) Olympus, Murray, Olympus, Skyline, West
Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Cottonwood, Jordan, Timpview
Maple Mountain, Provo, Skyridge, Springville, Timpanogos, Wasatch
Canyon View, Cedar, Desert Hills, Hurricane, Dixie, Pine View, Snow Canyon
Lehi (except football), Mountain View, Orem, Payson, Salem Hills, Spanish Fork, Uintah
Ben Lomond, Bonneville, Juan Diego (except football), Ogden, Park City, Stansbury, Tooele
Bear River, Green Canyon, Logan, Mountain Crest, Ridgeline, and Sky View
Grantsville, Judge Memorial, Morgan, South Summit, Summit Academy
American Leadership Academy, Carbon, Delta, Juab, Maeser, Providence, Union
Emery, Grand County, Manti, North Sanpete, Richfield, South Sevier, San Juan
Altamont, Duchesne, Layton Christian, North Summit, St. Joseph, Utah Military Academy, *Great Basin
APA Draper, APA West Valley, Merit, Rockwell, Rowland Hall, Wasatch Academy
Beaver, Enterprise, Gunnison, Kanab, Millard, North Sevier, Parowan
Green River, Monticello, Monument Valley, Pinnacle, Wayne, Whitehorse, *Lake Powell, *Navajo Mountain
Bryce Valley, Diamond Ranch, Escalante, Panguitch, Piute, Valley, Water Canyon, *Ash Creek Ranch
Dugway, Milford, Telos, Tintic, Wendover, West Ridge, *EskDale, *West Desert
Intermountain Christian, Manila, Mt. Vernon, Oakley, Rich, Tabiona, *USDB
Carbon, Emery, Grantsville, Judge, Morgan, Union
Juab, Juan Diego, Manti, North Sanpete, Richfield, Summit Academy
American Leadership, Delta, Gunnison, Millard, North Summit, South Summit
Beaver, Enterprise, Grand County, North Sevier, San Juan, South Sevier
Altamont, Duchesne, Layton Christian, Rich
Diamond Ranch, Kanab, Milford, Monticello, Parowan
Monument Valley, Wayne, Whitehorse