Bainbridge High officials ready to research moving Spartans from Metro League to Olympic League

Bainbridge High School will take another look at changing leagues for its Spartan sports teams.

BHS athletes currently play in the highly competitive Metro League, and Bainbridge school officials said they are planning an extensive exploration of its options for league affiliation.

The Bainbridge School Board will get a presentation at its meeting this week on the process of moving BHS from the Metro League to the Olympic League.

The idea to switch leagues has come up before, but proved to be unpopular with many Spartan athletes and their parents, while BHS coaches were split on the proposal to move to the Olympic League.

The school board ultimately decided in December 2013 to remain in the Metro League.

Bainbridge district and school officials have already given some thought about a switch to the Olympic League, given that the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) reviews student enrollment numbers for the athletic classification of its member schools and districts. The WIAA has more than 800 middle level and high schools as members, and the organization supports and sponsors 23 sports across the state.

According to Bainbridge’s enrollment of students in grades 9 through 11 in 2019, BHS will continue to compete as a 3A school, according to a memo from Bainbridge Associate Superintendent Erin Murphy that details what it would take to examine changing leagues for Bainbridge athletes.

Murphy set out three areas that will form the basis for the look at a switch from Metro:

“1. Instructional Time – exploration of whether there would be an increase or decrease for student in-class instructional time should there be a change from the Metro to the Olympic League.

2. Travel – exploration of the differences in student travel experiences for competitions in the Metro and the Olympic Leagues. This analysis will include: distance between schools, student departure and return times for competitions, and comparative costs between the two options.

3. Level of Competition – evaluation of the level of competition available between the two leagues, the impact that scheduling within a league may or may not have on competitiveness between teams, and the student enrollment of member schools within each league.”

Murphy will give a presentation to the school board Thursday on a possible look at a league change, which include a review on the focus of the exploration, how feedback from stakeholders will be gathered, and a timeline for the analysis.

BHS Associate Principal and Athletic Director Joe Power and BHS Principal Kristen Haizlip are also expected to share details of the possible probe with the board.

The Bainbridge Island School Board will meet at 5:45 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9 at Bainbridge Island Fire Department’s Station 21, 8895 Madison Ave. NE.

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