A hearings officer has ruled that Salem-Keizer high schools will have to play in a sports league with three Bend schools starting in fall 2018.

Hearings officer W. Michael Gillette, a former Oregon Supreme Court justice, ruled that the Oregon School Activities Association was acting within its powers when it voted to realign leagues. Starting in the fall, five Salem-Keizer schools will compete in a league with Bend, Mountain View and Summit high schools.

In its appeal, Salem-Keizer officials said the OSAA failed to hold public hearings; the OSAA’s Classification and Districting Committee didn't follow its criteria of safety, minimizing the loss of student instructional time and minimizing expenditure to the schools; and the OSAA violated ORS 329.025, which requires equal access to educational opportunities for all students.

Previous coverage: Details of OSAA appeal hearings by Salem-Keizer, Cascade determined

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Gillette rejected all those arguments, saying the months of meetings prior to the OSAA's decision were plenty of notice; and that the rules of the OSAA give it wide discretion to create leagues. The current decision, he ruled, is well within those boundaries.

Salem-Keizer's arguments, Gillette wrote, "while well made, are not well taken."

Read the full decision here.

This story will be updated