By Steve Pimper
For more than six months the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) and its Board of Trustees have discussed, debated and wrestled with the every-four-years task of realignment.
The process involves reviewing every high school in the state along with their ever-changing enrollment figures to try and keep the playing field level and competitive by moving schools to higher or lower classifications based on their overall projected growth or loss of students.
After submitting two preliminary drafts to the schools, then allowing schools to publicly address the UHSAA and Board of Trustees and pour through dozens of counter-proposals and weigh the change in the economic state of the Beehive State, the final alignment was approved Tuesday, June 10.
Trying to meet the requests of every school along with keeping long-time rivalries in mind was a priority for the realignment committee, but unfortunately an impossibility as the final plan was passed by an almost unanimous vote.
While everyone admitted the final realignment draft is not perfect, the compromise for the benefit of meeting rising budget restraints in fuel and transportation costs along with real out of school time by trying to keep schools from long, costly road games definitely played a key role in the final approved draft which will take effect starting in the fall of 2009.
Here is the final 1A (smallest schools) through 5A (largest schools) alignment with new schools, and Region (league) affiliations:
Class 5A (Enrollment above 1,500)
Region 1: Fremont, Layton, Roy, Syracuse, Weber, Clearfield, Davis, Northridge, Viewmont
Region 2: Cottonwood, Cyprus, Granger, Hunter, Murray, Skyline, West
Region 3: Bingham, Copper Hills, Kearns, Riverton, Taylorsville, West Jordan (2010)
Region 4: Alta, American Fork, Brighton, Hillcrest, Jordan, Lone Peak, Pleasant Grove
Class 4A (Enrollment 1,000 to 1,499)
Region 5: Bonneville, Box Elder, Logan, Mountain Crest, Ogden, Sky View
Region 6: East, Highland, Olympus, Stansbury, Tooele, Bountiful, Woods Cross, SPA
Region 7: Lehi, Mountain View, Orem, Saratoga Springs, Timpanogos, Timpview
Region 8: Maple Mountain, Payson, Provo, Salem Hills, Spanish Fork, Springville
Class 3A (Enrollment 400-999)
Region 9: Canyon View, Cedar City, Desert Hills, Hurricane, Dixie, Pine View, Snow Canyon, Tuacahn
Region 10: Bear River, Ben Lomond, Grantsville, Morgan, Judge Memorial, Juan Diego
Region 11: A.L.A., Carbon, Park City, Union, Wasatch, Uintah
Region 12: Delti, Juab, Manti, North Sanpete, Richfield, Emery
Class 2A (170-399)
Region 13: Grand County, Gunnison, North Sevier, San Juan, South Sevier
Region 14: Beaver, Cross Creek, Enterprise, Kanab, Millard, Parowan
Region 15: Layton Christian, Maesar, North Summit, Rowland Hall, South Summit, Waterford
Class 1A (Below 150)
Region 16: Bryce Valley, Escalante, Milford, Panguitch, Piute, Valley, Wayne, Abundant Life Academy
Region 17: Altamont, Duchesne, Rich, Manila, Tabiona, Uintah River
Region 18: Christian Heritage, I.C.S., Mount Vernon, Oakley, St. Joseph, West Ridge, Salt Lake Luthern, Utah School for Deaf/Blind
Region 19: Green River, Monument Valley, Monticello, Navajo Mountain, Whitehorse
Region 20: Dugway, Liahona, Meridian, Tintic, Wasatch Academy, Wendover, EskDale, West Desert
Of note in this final alignment is the inclusion of several new schools either opening in the fall of 2008, or scheduled to open during the 2009-2013 period of time. Those schools are: Stansbury, Saratoga Springs, Salem Hills, Maesar, Uintah River, Liahona and a yet to be named school that will be included in Region 3.
Because of excessive travel restrictions and rapidly-rising fuel and transportation costs, Region 9 and Region 11 will play Region games with schools larger than stated enrollment numbers.
This will find four 4A schools (Dixie, Pine View, Uintah and Snow Canyon) participating in league play with smaller sized schools. These four schools will be placed in their proper classification for state tournament competition. Exactly how their qualification for state playoff eligibility has not yet been determined and will be resolved by the Executive Board at a later meeting.
A final note finds some longtime Region rivalries being dissolved under these new league alignments. The East vs. West (Salt Lake City), Timpview vs. Provo, Ogden vs. Ben Lomond and Roy vs. Bonneville contests will now have to be played as preseason contests rather than regular Region encounters.