Carmichael eager for tough job.
The Eugene School District will have a seat on the Oregon School Activities Association classification and districting committee this time around.
Churchill athletic director Tim Carmichael was selected to serve on the 15-member committee as a representative of the Oregon Athletic Directors Association. He said he contacted the OADA through Willamette athletic director Barry Bokn and volunteered to serve on the committee.
Carmichael brings a voice from the Eugene district - which took the OSAA to court over the last classification and districting process that split up the Midwestern League two years ago - although he emphasizes that he is serving as a member of the OADA and his responsibility is to represent athletic directors from every school around the state.
"Obviously the 4J district last time was pretty vocal after the six-classification system was accepted by the OSAA board, and I think we'd like to be at least on the front end of things this time," Carmichael said.
Carmichael was among the local school athletic directors who did not want to see the breakup of the Midwestern League for various reasons, including the loss of traditional rivalries and increased travel costs.
"I think it is an important decision, not that I have any real specific plans or ideas, but I certainly have spent a lot of time thinking about it and talking about it," Carmichael said. "I know my colleagues in the 4J district have done the same. The cost of travel is a big deal, but also what I hear more than anything else is from parents who can no longer attend their kids' games in far-away places that begin at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, or assistant coaches who used to be able to drive across town and arrive at a sub-varsity contest at 4 o'clock and now they have to leave their job or classes much earlier in the day. Those are possible unintended consequences that maybe there is a way to work around."
Carmichael said he is looking forward to hearing comments from other educators and expects a range of opinions.
"My guess is the concerns of the 4J district are probably similar to the concerns of some other districts," Carmichael said. "There could be additional concerns, and I'm sure there are also probably people absolutely happy. They got exactly what they wanted and they want to hang on to it. I am certainly going in with an open mind."
During the last reclassification process, Churchill, North Eugene, Thurston, Springfield and Willamette signed a declaration stating that they would agree to play up to the 6A level if they were assured of being in a league with Sheldon and South Eugene, but that proposal was denied. There was also talk of a blended league with the Midwestern League remaining together for the regular season before going into separate classifications for the playoffs.
Carmichael said any similar plans from the Midwestern League this time around would not be determined until later.
"I would imagine that both the Southwest Conference and Midwestern League will have proposals or ideas or some type of plan that they may want the committee to take a look at," Carmichael said.
Junction City football coach Mark Henderson will join Carmichael on the committee. Henderson is a member of the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association executive board and was asked by that group to serve as its representative.
"I think it is going to be fun, I am looking forward to it," Henderson said. "It is a big job, hard to make everyone happy."
Henderson said he likes the six-classification system but added that it has not had a dramatic effect on the Sky-Em League.
"I like it because it gives more teams an opportunity for success," he said. "As far as the Sky-Em League goes, it was not a huge change for us. We dropped out Siuslaw and that brought us down to seven teams, which is about right for our size of league."
However, the Sky-Em League could face bigger changes this time around because Pleasant Hill is likely to fall below the current cutoff for 4A schools and could drop down to 3A. Cottage Grove was above the cutoff for 4A schools during the 2006-07 school year so it could be moved up.
And Marist - which had its request to move up to 5A and join the Midwestern League denied last year - plans to make that request again.
"That is our plan at this point, for a variety of reasons," Marist athletic director Sharee Waldron said. "The Sky-Em League looks pretty iffy as to whether or not it will even exist with Pleasant Hill possibly moving down and Cottage Grove maybe moving up. For us, it is a variety of things, not the least of which is travel and we think we can be competitive at that level."
OSAA Classification and Districting Committee
Chairperson: John Harrington, president, Central Catholic.
Voting Members: Paul Cook, principal, Cleveland; John George, director of secondary education, Three Rivers School District; Jeff Davis, superintendent, Central Curry School District; Rick Pass, superintendent, Knappa School District; David Kerr, superintendent, Prarie City School District; Vicki Lukich, principal, Aloha; Art Ochoa, district athletic director, Klamath County Schools; Tim Carmichael, athletic director, Churchill; Jeff Smith, school board member, Sisters School District; Nikki Squire, state board of education; Cori Minegar, dance and drill coach, Woodburn; Mark Henderson, football coach, Junction City; Ken Woods, commissioner, Salem Football.
Ex-officio member: Jack Henderson, superintendent, Dufur School District.