Prep parade: Classen SAS entering football world with OKCPS realignment
Anthony Fogle just wants his players to have the chance to compete.
For the past few weeks, Fogle has eyed the signup sheet at Northeast Academy hoping the numbers would be there.
More than 20 Northeast players are on the list. The number isn’t quite as high for Classen SAS students, but Fogle believes that will change.
It has to for Classen SAS’ new football program under the Oklahoma City Public Schools realignment plan to work.
“I think it’s one of the most important things athletically because they don’t have football over there right now,” Fogle said. “It’s going to be real critical for us to be able to compete the next school year.”
For the first time in school history, Classen SAS will be a football school.
That was officially determined Wednesday morning when the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association Board of Directors unanimously approved Classen SAS playing an independent schedule next season, offering Northeast athletes a chance to compete for a new school.
“We couldn’t do that to those kids,” Oklahoma City Public Schools athletic director Keith Sinor said. “We wanted to provide the same opportunities that they currently had. That was part of this realignment.”
Fogle, who coached Northeast the past two seasons, will be the coach. It’s expected around 30 players will take the field in the fall.
For a program that competed in Class A, that’s a strong number. For a program that will now fall in Class 5A or Class 4A, that’s trouble.
Sinor and the OSSAA made sure that wasn’t an issue. It is expected that if the program continues after this fall, Classen SAS will remain on an independent schedule.
“We just don’t have the interest there,” Sinor said. “Classen is not a football school. We’re going to basically be playing with the kids left over from Northeast.”
But the realignment also influences football teams around the state.
The OSSAA postponed the release the average daily membership numbers that determine the football districts for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
With OKCPS closing some schools and redistricting, the OSSAA has asked OKCPS to provide the ADM numbers no later than Sept. 5 to make sure each school is properly classified. The ADM will be posted five days later, allowing schools to find discrepancies by Sept. 13.
That pushes the new football districts back months from the normal release in July at the Oklahoma Coaches Association clinic. Now, the OSSAA will approve the new districts in January 2020.
It was the best solution.
Classen SAS is expected to have around 700 students. John Marshall will likely sit around that total. That would put both on the cusp of being in Class 5A.
But nothing is finalized. Less students could enroll in August.
Fogle is aware of that. He’ll be thankful for the Classen SAS athletes who want to join the football team. They’ll help the program.
“I really came looking for stability and I’m just glad that they looked at the situation and said, ‘This is a guy we want to continue to do what we’re doing and build off the successes, the learning and the hard times,’” Fogle said. “Hopefully we can get to those good times.”