Portland considering options to merge high school sports teams

Portland considering options to merge high school sports teams »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. – A major shift to Portland high school sports could be coming that may mean merging some schools' sports teams in the 2014/15 school year.

The district hasn't seen a possible change like this for eight years. The state classification system is looked at every four years.

The last time not much changed. But the time before that, Portland high school sports went from one league to three. And this time around, the new athletic director, Marshall Haskins, wants to have a serious conversation with the city about major changes again.

He says it's all about creating more opportunities for more students.

"I'm concerned about all sports, not just the ones that are the more public ones," he said. "I think the city of Portland will make the best decision for the city of Portland. Part of those stakeholders will be the kids. There will be no decision made without their input."

There are four options on paper right now.

Option A: There would be no sports at Benson. Athletes there would play at their neighborhood schools while Jefferson and Roosevelt would merge.

Option B: This option would be the same as option A but without Jefferson and Roosevelt merging.

Option C: Only Jefferson and Benson would merge.

Option D: No change.

Haskins says those are just four examples of many possibilities.

"They were four things that could happen that open the conversation – that we could begin to look outside the normal box to say, what we can do to provide kids both an academic choice and an athletic opportunity?" he said. "Kids don't currently have that in our district across the board."

He says he expects some type of uproar no matter the decision, but he's confident that once people understand the numbers, there may be excitement for change, too.

On the surface, it may sound like those options would mean going from nine teams to eight or seven. But not every school has every sport.

For example, School A may have basketball but there aren’t enough students to have a soccer program at all. But combine programs with School B, and now there are enough students to have a JV and varsity teams for both sports.

Even when there is a decision, Portland will only make a recommendation to the state. The state has the final say.

A viewer emailed us some of the proposals the district is considering. If there's something you want us to look into, email us at newstips@katu.com.