There were online reports Tuesday evening of the Great Northern League “dissolving,” with the members joining a reconstructed Greater Spokane League for all sports for next school year.
According to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, “nothing final has happened yet.”
“We’re still in the talking stages,” according to the source, adding that “no agreement has been signed,” with discussions still ongoing.
Ever since the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association announced in January that schools could lower their enrollment numbers for classification based on their free and reduced lunch percentages, speculation has been rampant about how it might affect the GSL, and by association, the GNL.
All schools will know by Nov. 25 – when the final percentages used for the next cycle will be released – where they fall for classification next year under the free/reduced lunch allowance. At that point, the leagues should have a better idea about how all the pieces fit.
Until those numbers are released, everything is conjecture.
In addition, there is also a new rule for football that allows schools to petition to play down one classification – for any reason – for football only.
North Central, Rogers and possibly Shadle Park might all be eligible to compete at 2A with the free/reduced lunch percentage allowance. There’s a possibility that one or more current 4A schools could qualify to play at 3A.
Most expect Cheney to qualify at 3A next season, while Deer Park could be a candidate to move up to 2A.
Officials from the GSL and GNL have been meeting “for quite some time,” according to the source, in order to plan for all contingencies.
One of the more popular plans involves the existing members of the GNL – Cheney, West Valley, East Valley, Pullman and Clarkston – joining the GSL under a 4A/3A/2A configuration for all sports.
If the speculated numbers hold, Cheney would join Mt. Spokane in 3A, leaving an eight-team 2A division, including the other four members of the GNL, North Central and Rogers, and possibly Shadle Park and Deer Park.
As for scheduling, all that seems certain is that the GSL wouldn’t require any of the 2A schools to play the 4A schools in football. This season, the league allowed NC and Rogers to play a truncated schedule against 4A schools and play each other twice instead.
Weekly football rankings
The Associated Press Washington state football rankings for Week 6 were released on Wednesday. In 4A, Central Valley (4-1, 2-0) was ranked No. 8. Mt. Spokane (4-1) was ranked fifth in 3A, and Clarkston (4-1, 1-0) was No. 9 in 2A.
In 1A, Deer Park (5-0, 3-0) was ranked sixth, while Colville (3-2, 1-1) placed 10th. In 2B, Colfax (4-1, 1-0) was ranked ninth, and Liberty (4-1, 0-0) 10th.
In 1B, Odessa (5-0) remained at No. 1 and Almira/Coulee-Hartline (5-0) stayed at No. 2. Those two face off in league play on Oct. 25.
The Fitz names field
Boys and girls teams from California, Oregon and Washington have been selected to play in the eight-team fields at the Dan Fitzgerald Memorial Tournament Dec. 6-7 at Ferris High School.
The Fitz also announced that Gloria Nevarez, the new West Coast Conference Commissioner, will deliver the keynote address at the tournament banquet on Dec. 5.
The boys field will include State 3A runner-up Mt. Spokane, Ferris, West Valley (Yakima) and St. Ignatius of San Francisco, which Fitzgerald attended.
The girls field is comprised of Central Valley, University, Beaverton (Oregon) and St. Ignatius.
Since 2010, The Fitz has donated more than $200,000 to various local charitable and nonprofit entities from tournament revenue and sponsor contributions.
Cross country postponed
The three GSL cross country meets scheduled for Wednesday were all postponed due to the unexpected snowstorm that moved through the area on Tuesday evening.
All three league meets were rescheduled for Oct. 16 at 4:10 p.m.
Rogers, Shadle Park, University and Central Valley will run at Liberty Lake; Mt. Spokane, Mead and Gonzaga Prep race at Finch Arboretum; and Ferris, North Central and Lewis and Clark battle at Audubon Park.
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