Ad hoc committee proposes changes for 2020 football season

The OSAA Football ad hoc committee has made its recommendations for changes for the 2020 football season. The committee’s suggestions could bring significant changes to small-school football in Oregon should the suggestions be upheld.

The committee proposed earlier this week at the OSAA office in Wilsonville that Class 2A football programs convert to playing nine-man football rather than continue playing the traditional 11-man game.

If the proposal is upheld, then 2A football programs, like Culver, must make a decision: continue playing 11-man football and compete against 3A schools, or remain in 2A and adapt to playing nine-man football.

Also discussed was an extension to six-man football, which finished up its two-year pilot time frame this fall. With a couple of modifications — adjusting the enrollment limit to better reflect the six-man team’s school population, as well extending the six-player cutoff date two weeks to allow for an unofficial semifinal and championship game — the committee proposed the continuation of the six-man version for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Gilchrist had struggled to field enough players while competing in eight-man football prior to the reintroduction of six-man football in 2018.

“The best thing to see is them out here having fun, they’re smiling, they aren’t dreading playing in games,” said Gilchrist coach Rick West in October. “You have to take them off the field — it’s like ‘OK guys, it’s time to quit.’ They love the game. It’s because of the switch to six-man.”

The fall of 2020 could also look different for Class 4A Sisters. The Outlaws are one of 31 football teams in Oregon qualified to move down a classification. After winning 21% (3-13 overall) of their games in their two years since joining the Oregon West Conference, the Outlaws are eligible to make the move to Class 3A. Sisters will have until Dec. 2 to make its decision.

Two other Central Oregon teams currently playing down a level — Crook County and Madras — will not be forced to move back to their original classifications.

Both the Cowboys (58.82 winning percentage in 4A) and the White Buffalo (33.33 win percentage in 3A) finished below the 66.67 win percentage threshold over the past two seasons required to move back up a classification.

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