Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 77° Clear
Sports >  High school sports

WIAA passes four amendments, combines three Eastern Washington districts into one

UPDATED: Mon., May 9, 2022

Ferris’ Alec Roland (15) vies for a rebound against Kennewick’s Ayden Knapik (24) during the second half of the District 8 3A boys basketball championship game on Friday, Feb 18, 2022, at Spokane Arena in Spokane, Wash. Kennewick won the game 45-43.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Ferris’ Alec Roland (15) vies for a rebound against Kennewick’s Ayden Knapik (24) during the second half of the District 8 3A boys basketball championship game on Friday, Feb 18, 2022, at Spokane Arena in Spokane, Wash. Kennewick won the game 45-43. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced Monday its representative assembly voted to pass four amendments to its charter, most significantly reducing the number of the districts in the state from nine to six, combining the three easternmost districts into one.

The redistricting amendment passed 40-13 in a vote of 53 high school and middle school administrators from the current nine districts. A total of 32 votes were needed to pass.

The change will be implemented to align with the next classification cycle, scheduled to begin during the 2024-25 school year.

The current WIAA Districts 7, 8, and 9 (Eastern Washington) will combine to form a new WIAA District 6. Current WIAA Districts 5 and 6 (Yakima area and central WA) will combine to form a new WIAA District 5.

Currently, District 8 is comprised of 16 schools in the 4A, 3A and 2A classifications in the Greater Spokane League and nine from the 4A/3A Mid-Columbia Conference. District 7 is made up of 1A, 2B and 1B schools (35 total) in the northeast part of the state while District 9 is comprised of 12 southeast 1B schools.

The new District 6 will have teams and leagues in all six WIAA classifications under one umbrella. The redistricting follows a similar path the WIAA took in the early 1980s to combine six westside districts into four.

In its summary of the decision, the WIAA stated, “Having between 40 and 90 schools in a district where all classifications are included and represented creates stability, commonality of structure, and ensures similar fees and other financial procedures for all schools within the WIAA District.”

Paul Manfred, athletic director at Gonzaga Prep, is one of the WIAA executive board members. He explained the playoff structure for the biggest schools in the new district will remain largely the same.

“The biggest benefit will be collaboration within the big schools and the small schools,” he said. “These schools have been in separate districts and the big schools don’t understand what happens in the little schools, and the little schools don’t understand from the big schools’ perspective.”

Part of bringing the Eastern Washington districts together is to eliminate the need for “glue” games between the different small-school districts to qualify for state playoffs, allowing the smaller leagues to participate in bigger district tournaments to send bids directly to state.

“The hope is there will be better collaboration with all of these moving parts,” Manfred said.

The other part of the amendment was to adjust the make-up of the WIAA executive board to align with the redistricting proposal.

Regions A and B (made up of the four west side districts) will each have two representatives on the board, while Region C (new Districts 5 and 6) will have three.

“I do think it’s beneficial to the new district,” Manfred said of the executive board realignment. “Obviously, when you dissolve (districts) you’re going to lose a little bit of voting power. But the benefit is we can have better informed voters because we understand better what’s happening within the entire district instead of “Oh, well this is what works for the big schools’ or ‘This is what works for the small schools.’

“We’ll have better-informed decision-makers.”

The three other amendments to pass were:

  • Eliminated “no position” as a voting option for assembly members;
  • Allows students to retain full number of practices previously completed upon return of extended absence;
  • Allows placing of students on academic probation at the start of fall sports season if they failed to meet grade requirements the previous school year.

Two amendments failed to pass: increasing the number of baseball/softball games from 20 to 22 and allowing basketball teams to count a tournament up to four games as one contest.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.