Utah prep realignment: 1st consideration of classifications has 53 ‘bubble schools’ | News, Sports, Jobs

Utah’s biennial preparatory process for realigning the sport began Thursday with the first of three Board of Trustees meetings at the UHSAA Midvale office.

As for the realignment process, the first hit represents the top of the first inning in a nine-inning baseball game.

However, at that meeting Thursday, the UHSAA Board of Directors approved the first draft of the classifications, which is an early draft and is expected to change throughout the process, which will eventually lead to guidance for the 2023-24 and 2024 school years -25 will decide.

The suggested class sizes are 23 (6A), 25 (5A), 25 (4A), 21 (3A), 25 (2A) and 29 schools (1A).

This would make 6A and 5A smaller than they are now (26 and 33 schools respectively) and almost double the size of 4A from its current size of 13 schools, which was the main problem of the last rebalancing.


First Draft Classifications for Utah Prep Sports Realignment (All Sports Except Soccer), Thursday, November 17, 2022.

The 11-player football classifications, which differ from the main line because there are fewer schools playing football, will initially be 23 schools (6A), 25 (5A), 25 (5A), 12 (3A), 10 ( 2A) and 10 (1A).

A classification for eight-player soccer, introduced this school year, was not discussed Thursday because schools in 1A and 2A have the option to declare themselves eight-player soccer if their circumstances so require.

There are 53 bubble schools in the first draft classification, which is more than the last rebalancing. Bubble schools are those that can move up or down in a classification depending on the enrollment.

This follows a change approved by the board earlier this year that expands the range of possible bubble schools to have more flexibility between classifications.

The change opens the door for some schools to move down a classification for competitive reasons, despite having been too big for it in the past. It also clouds the crystal ball when trying to get a picture of what 2023 will be like, especially in the 5A classification.


First draft classifications for Utah Prep Football, Thursday, November 17, 2022.

Out of 25 schools originally ranked in 5A, 21 are bubble schools as they either have an enrollment within 10% of the largest 5A school (Roy High) or the largest 4A school (Uintah).

Locally, Clearfield High (1,279 students in grades 11-12) and Northridge (1,277) are bubble schools at the bottom of 6A, with the ability to apply for relegation to 5A. Clearfield is currently in 6A Region 1 and Northridge is in 5A Region 5.

Roy (1,239) is the largest school in 5A and is a bubble school with an opportunity to advance to 6A where it is currently in Region 2.

Bonneville High (915) and Bountiful (937), a member of Region 5, are high 4A bubble schools with an option to advance to 5A. Box Elder (1,076) is one of only four schools “locked up” in 5A.

The other two members of Region 5 – Viewmont (991) and Woods Cross (1,020) – are “low” 5A bubble schools.

Ben Lomond (737 students in Grades 11-12, 1,170 in Grades 10-12) and Ogden (748 and 1,114) were placed at 4A but are both expected to apply to be downgraded to 3A in all sports as they both 50% or have higher prices for free and discounted lunch. Both schools have done this in their current orientation.

Morgan (848 students 10-12) is solid in 3A and Layton Christian (354 students 10-12) is a low 3A bubble school that may go down to 2A in the first draft of the 2023-25 ​​alignment.

In its current alignment, LCA’s sports are divided into three classifications: boys’ basketball and boys’ soccer are in 4A, soccer is in 1A and everything else is in 3A.

In the first football classification, which is different and has fewer schools than the main alignment, the Eagles were placed in 2A with no opportunity to go down.

St. Joseph (139) and Utah Military Academy (235) are confined at 2A, where they both currently reside.

The larger pool of bubble schools means more uncertainty in classifications, more decisions for board members to make, and a multitude of possible reorganizations in the region.

Board chairman Jerre Holmes, the superintendent of the North Summit School District in Coalville, said he felt the board took the step to expand the pool of bubble schools for “the right reasons”, even if it meant more variables to consider.

The next board meeting is on Thursday, December 8th and only representatives from bubble schools will be present at this meeting. At this meeting, board members will break “connections” between bubble schools, create classifications, and create a first draft of regions.

UHSAA Executive Director Rob Cuff outlined a process the board will use to sever ties between bubble schools.

This process, which is another new addition to the realignment process, includes a “success factor” that uses the teams’ RPI ratings in team sports that use the RPI system (e.g. don’t use RPI (golf and tennis).

The above RPI assessment will use data from three fall sport seasons, three winter sport seasons and two spring sport seasons (Spring 2020 not included due to COVID-19). Cuff said geography, rivalries and the school’s preferred alignment will also be factored into the tiebreak process.


UHSAA creates classifications for 6A-4A based on their schools’ 11th through 12th enrollment and uses 10th through 12th grade enrollment for the 3A-1A classifications.

It uses slightly different school enrollment numbers than those displayed on the Utah State Board of Education website.

It takes the USBE numbers, subtracts the number of “self-employed” students — say, students with heavy special education — from the total, and then adds the alternative high school numbers of the districts where students are eligible to play sports in traditional high schools to drive .


In the non-realignment business, the board approved combining the 2A and 1A fall baseball classifications into one classification.

St. Joseph and Utah Military Academy has played 2A fall baseball in a division with other charter and private schools along the Wasatch Front for the past several years.

UMA won the 2020 2A Fall Baseball Championship by an 18-0 record. St. Joseph is expected to transition to spring baseball beginning in the 2023-24 school year as eight-player soccer is added in fall 2023.


Towards the end of the realignment discussion, UHSAA Assistant Director Jeff Cluff reminded the board that West Field High, the new school in Taylor, would come online in 2024 — right in the middle of the upcoming alignment period.

At some point the board has to consider where a school that does not yet exist should be placed. But there is precedent with Farmington (opened initially in 5A in 2018, grew to 6A by 2021), Cedar Valley in Eagle Mountain (opened in 4A in 2019, now 5A), and Mountain Ridge in Herriman (opened in 5A in 2019, is). now 6A).

West Field is expected to open in the 2024-25 school year with approximately 1,400-1,500 students, which will have a major impact on student enrollments at Fremont, Weber and Roy High.

Cuff then pointed to a relatively new rule in the UHSAA handbook that says any school with at least a 40% drop in enrollment before January 15 of an even calendar year may appear by no more than a sophomore classification to move down in the alignment phase.

It’s been referred to by some as “the Mountain Crest rule,” dating back to 2016 when Ridgeline High opened in Millville and nearby Mountain Crest (Hyrum) suffered major enrollment success, but with the likes of Roy a year to go had to stay in 5A. Weber and Fremont, although they are hundreds of students smaller.

The 40 percent rule didn’t exist in 2016, but it does exist now and depending on the results of the West Field frontier study, it could be an option for Fremont, Roy or Weber if any of their enrollments go back far enough.


*-indicates a low-bubble school

^-indicates High Bubble School

^^–expected to apply for low bubble status

6A: Weber, Fremont, Layton, Syracuse, Davis, Farmington, Clearfield*, Northridge*

5A: Roy^, box elder

4A: Bonneville^, Ben Lomond^^, Ogden^^, Bear River,

3A: Morgan, Layton Christian*

2A: Utah Military Academy, St. Joseph


Note: The UHSAA did not discuss the eight-player classification Thursday, which St. Joseph is expected to join in 2023.

*-indicates a low-bubble school

^-indicates High Bubble School

^^–expected to apply for low bubble status

6A: Weber, Fremont, Syracuse, Layton, Farmington, Davis Clearfield*, Northridge*

5A: Roy^, box elder

4A: Bonneville^, Ben Lomond^^, Ogden^^, Bear River

3A: morgan

2A: Layton Christian


Thursday December 8th: Board meeting where only bubble school representatives can attend. Classifications will be established and the Board will discuss a first iteration of the regions.

Wednesday December 14th: Public hearing on Zoom. Information on how to attend the Zoom meeting will be sent to schools.

Thursday 15 December: Alignment is established but not 100% complete.

Thursday January 19th: Board meeting where each school can request a higher rating.

Connect with reporter Patrick Carr via email at [email protected], Twitter @patrickcarr_ and Instagram @standardexaminersports.


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