OSAA Reclassification Could Put All Canby Sports at 5A Level

Canby football has seen a revival over the past few years — from a winless 2018 campaign to this season, where the 4-1 Cougs are ranked fifth in the state and only a field goal away from an undefeated record.

And while third-year head coach Jimmy Joyce and his staff deserve a lot of credit for the turnaround — along with team buy-in and parent, district and community support — another big factor was the OSAA‘s decision two years ago to temporarily move Canby from the largest 6A classification to 5A for football only.

Whereas, Canby’s enrollment puts it right on the cusp of qualifying for 6A — and it is one of the smallest public schools in the state at that level — it is one of the larger schools in 5A.

Its three-year average senior class size of 957 compares favorably to South Albany (998), West Albany (910), Thurston (919), Silverton (910) and cross-town rival Wilsonville (909), all of which are — not coincidentally — consistently at the top of the 5A power rankings for football and other sports.

Again, Canby currently competes at 6A for all sports other than football — but that could soon change. The OSAA is in the process of reorganizing athletic districts — a routine exercise that happens every four years — and recent proposals have recommended classifying Canby at 5A for all athletics.

One proposal by the Classification and Districting Committee at its most recent meeting Sept. 13 would have the Cougars in a league with Molalla, Wilsonville, Hillsboro, Milwaukie, Parkrose, Putnam and St. Helens.

The other idea the OSAA is mulling would do away with the 6A classification altogether. A proposal under that scenario, which the committee also presented last month, would place Canby in a league with familiar foes West Linn, Wilsonville and Newberg, along with Century, Forest Grove, Glencoe, Liberty and Sherwood.

Just to make things even more confusing, redistricting for football is not a part of this process, but is instead being handled by the OSAA’s Football Ad Hoc Committee. The districting committee is scheduled to make its final recommendation to the OSAA Executive Board on Nov. 22 — with the process for football kicking off immediately afterward.

“We are excited to see what the outcome of realignment is going to be and how it will impact Cougar athletics for the next four years,” Joyce told The Canby Current this week. “But until it is voted on around Thanksgiving, it’s just speculation and anticipation.”

The Classification and Districting Committee is scheduled to meet and present its latest proposals at 1 p.m. Oct. 11. in Wilsonville. To request to testify via Zoom, email bradg@osaa.org.

Help us build a sustainable news organization to serve Canby for generations to come! Let us know if you can support our efforts to expand our operations and keep all of our content paywall-free. #SwimWithTheCurrent!