Two county schools “on the bubble” in first classification realignment proposal

by Rhett Sifford
Sports Editor
Schools in San Juan County factor into the controversy that is always part of the Utah High School Activity Association’s (UHSAA) biennial classification realignment process.
The UHSAA released its first consideration of new classifications for the 2023-25 seasons this past week and two of the four schools in the county are considered “bubble schools” in at least one classification.
Bubble schools are schools that can move up or down a classification based on enrollment numbers. This year the UHSAA increased the amount of bubble schools in its realignment proposal to allow for more flexibility for schools that have been unable to move in the past.
There are two separate classification lists – one for football and one for all other activities. San Juan High School is on the bubble in both of the initially-proposed 2A classifications. At 328 students it is the smallest football school and the largest school in all other sports.
Whitehorse High School, with 119 students enrolled, is on the bubble as one of the largest schools in the 1A classification in activities other than football. Monticello, which is typically a bubble school in 1A, is outside the bubble this season with 109 students enrolled.
Monticello, Whitehorse, and Monument Valley (101 students) would all be on the bubble as three of the four smallest schools in 1A football, but they all elected to move to eight-player play this past season when that league was initiated.
The UHSAA did not discuss eight-player football in its initial meeting this past week since schools in the 1A and 2A classifications are allowed to move into the eight-man league if their circumstances necessitate it.
Under the first consideration of classifications 2A football would look quite a bit different than the past two seasons. San Juan would lose its biggest rival and strongest challenger in Beaver.
The Beavers are actually right in the middle of the 1A enrollment numbers with no chance to move up or down. Layton Christian would move into the 2A classification in football “replacing” Beaver.
As far as the realignment process goes, this first meeting of the UHSAA board of trustees is the very beginning. They’ll meet again on December 8 where bubble schools will be allowed to present proposals.
At that meeting, UHSAA board members will also break “ties” between the bubble schools (using an RPI-based system), establish classifications, and make a first draft of regions.
Then a public hearing will be held virtually on December 14 for the UHSAA to obtain feedback from the various districts, schools, and communities on the placement of schools into regions.
The assignment of schools into regions will be established on December 15, allowing time for schools and regions to organize and schedule. The first contests under the new alignment will take place in the fall of 2023.

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