Hermiston High School Close to Joining Mid Columbia Conference
All the necessary pieces appear to be in place, now it's likely just up to the OSAA (Oregon Schools Activities Association) to determine if Hermiston will move North sports-wise and join the Mid Columbia Conference.
Hermiston officials are using what's called Hardship criteria, basing their move on financial and academic reasons for leaving Oregon and their likely relocation to the Mt. Hood Conference.
Oregon plans to re-align their high schools very soon, and much like Sunnyside, Hanford and some other Washington schools, Hermiston's exploding student population will almost certainly land them in the 5A, or biggest, category. Sunnyside is now a 4A school in the old Big 9 Conference, and Hanford recently jumped from 3A to 4A and actually has a few more students than Richland.
That would mean Hermiston would have to play Portland area schools, and each team would rack up nearly 3,000 travel miles, and miss the equivalent of weeks of school class time. But if they join the Mid Columbia Conference, the travel miles would only total about 630. Such travel would destroy the school athletic and travel budget, and force players to pony up a lot more costs, as well as cause academic issues.
And the MCC would pick up a much welcome 3A school, giving the league 9 members. Due to increasing enrollment, Hanford is now a 4A school, along with Richland, Pasco, Chiawana and Walla Walla. That leaves only Kamiakin, Southridge and Kennewick as 3A participants.
According to the Tri-City Herald, in March the WIAA (Washington Interscholastic Activities Association) approved Hermiston's initial draft proposal for the move. Hermiston worked with both the WIAA and the OSAA on what criteria must be met for the move. The WIAA is on board, now it's up to Oregon's governing body to approve the move. Officials are hoping it comes very soon, so Oregon can join the MCC for the 2018-19 school year.
MCC schools are all in favor of the move.