Southern Oregon Conference Lives Again
October 30, 2013By Pete Belcastro of Tablerock Sports Network
In 2005 local high school sports fans had lots of emotional, mixed reaction when the OSAA ended the Southern Oregon Conference. The big schools became Special District Six North-South Medford, GP, Roseburg; the smaller schools entered the Southern Sky, then Special District 5A 1 (Ashland Crater Eagle Point), while Klamath Union, Mazama and Hidden Valley left a few years earlier.
Things have changed again and the OSAA has approved its new league alignment and the Southern Oregon Conference is back again. Its a bit different that it was before but think about the exciting games we will be seeing as the rivalry between Medford to Eugene is now official, complete and exciting for players and fans.
Here is the new Southern Oregon Conference:
North Medford, South Medford, Grants Pass, Roseburg
Sheldon, South Eugene, Thurston, and Willamette
The League is back to eight teams which was an OSAA priority for 6A schools. This new four-year alignment takes effect next September (2014).
To complete the alignment the remaining schools from the Rogue Valley to Eugene are now official members of the Midwestern 5A League.
Herre is the new Midwestern League
Ashland, Crater, Eagle Point, Marist
No Eugene, Thurston, Springfield,
Enrollments drive these decisions. The 6A schools have enrollments ranging from 1,262 at Thurston, the smallest to 1,578 at Roseburg the largest.
I for one, am thrilled to have the name back again, the Southern Oregon Conference was the state's best for decades. It dates back to 1898 when Ashland and Medford played their first football game. Then Grants Pass joined up in 1907, Klamath Union in 1913. These rivalries all are gone today but their memorials remain for many of us.
Its exciting to see the old name come back and I look forward to the new memories and exciting action we are going to see in the old, new Southern Oregon Conference and Midwestern League.