ESD could change because of 11AAA classWith the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s decision to add Class AAA in 11-man football, the Eastern South Dakota Conference has issues that are being looked at for the sport.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
With the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s decision to add Class AAA in 11-man football, the Eastern South Dakota Conference has issues that are being looked at for the sport.
The extra class won’t go into effect this fall, but the conference is looking into the possible hurdles it will face before the 11AAA starts at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.
Three ESD schools qualify in the 11AAA division — Aberdeen Central, Watertown and Brandon Valley.
The other ESD schools are Mitchell, Yankton, Pierre, Huron and Brookings, which all play in 11AA in football.
The other five schools that will be in the 11AAA class based on the current active daily memberships — or students in ninth, 10th and 11th grade in each school — are Sioux Falls Washington, Sioux Falls Roosevelt, Rapid City Central, Sioux Falls Lincoln and Rapid City Stevens.
Brandon Valley will have the option to petition down to 11AA if Sioux Falls O’Gorman petitions up to 11AAA, which is widely assumed.
Brandon Valley is the school with the lowest ADM in 11AAA, so it would have the first option to petition down to 11AA to keep both classes at eight teams.
After Brandon Valley, Watertown and then Aberdeen Central would have the option to petition down if O’Gorman moves up.
Brandon Valley Athletic Director Randy Marso said the issue will be discussed internally when the time is right. Marso said the school will need to make its choice before January 2013, which is when the new ADMs will be available for the next school year.
Marso said if the ESD doesn’t change, it will continue its current format. Then, the 11AAA teams in the ESD will play all of the 11AA ESD teams.
In football, the ESD currently plays a full round-robin schedule in the regular season to determine a conference champion.
But Harrisburg and Sturgis were being considered to the ESD to change to a 10-team league. Sturgis decided to join the Black Hills Conference, but Harrisburg — a fast-growing school district that is likely to be in 11AA by the time the next ADMs are calculated — is still being considered for ESD admission.
Mitchell Activities Director Geoff Gross likes the idea of adding Harrisburg to the conference.
Gross and ESD athletic directors will discuss Harrisburg’s admission to the conference and other topics at an annual meeting at 10 a.m. today at Mitchell High School.
“I think the addition of Harrisburg would be good for the conference,” he said. “Speaking from a Mitchell standpoint, they’re a school that’s a very good matchup. We’d be very competitive with them.”
Marso said if Harrisburg is added to the conference, there will no longer be full round-robin schedules for ESD teams.
He said there still will be a league champion or co-champions crowned, but ESD football teams will play smaller conference schedules.
Marso is unsure if the conference will make its final decision on Harrisburg’s status in the conference today, although it is possible that the issue could go to a vote among the athletic directors.
Gross said another topic that is being considered is revamping 11AA and 11AAA to an eight-game schedule, which would drop one game as it sits now. He added that would also affect ESD football scheduling.
“There’s a lot of different variables,” Gross said. “The first step in this was getting multiple classes. This is still very much in its infancy.”