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SDHSAA: Football tickets will help teams pay for travel in playoffs

PIERRE -- The $1 increases in ticket prices passed last year will remain for the playoff rounds of high school football in South Dakota this fall. But this time, the revenue will be designated to directly help the high schools.

The South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors made the decision Wednesday.

Student tickets will be $5 and adult tickets will be $7 for football playoff games except state championships. Football championship ticket prices will remain at $8 for students and $13 for adults.

High schools would use revenue from the additional $1 from the sub-state football tickets to help offset travel expenses, according to John Krogstrand, an assistant executive director for the association.

The vote was 4-1 among the directors present. Director Dan Whalen, of Pierre, opposed the change because of the recent backlash over ticket prices.

The extra dollar won't apply to other sports. For example, volleyball playoff ticket prices will stay at $4 for students and $6 for adults.

New gender policy

The board voted 4-1 to adopt the new transgender policy. It sets the requirements for a student to participate in athletic competition designated for the opposite sex.

Foreign students

The board adopted a policy setting athletic eligibility requirements for international students attending schools in South Dakota.

Among the criteria, a school or anyone associated with the school can't have selected the student; the student can't have already graduated from high school overseas and can't have attended another U.S. school; and the student must have a J-1 or F-1 visa.

A student at Mitchell Christian High School has an F-1 visa that allows him to stay beyond one year. There is dispute whether the new policy applies to him.

Chairman Darren Paulson, of Rapid City, stopped the discussion Wednesday. He said the policy issue needed to be decided first, and the student's situation should be handled through the normal appeals process.

"That's what we have to do in this case, like it or not," Paulson said.

Wayne Carney, SDHSAA executive director, said "a lot of red flags went up" when he received information that an organization known as A-HOPE was seeking to place basketball players from Africa at Mitchell Christian.

A-HOPE stands for African Hoop Opportunities Providing an Education. The current student wasn't placed at Mitchell Christian by A-HOPE, according to people from the school.

Among participants in the Mike Miller Classic basketball tournament in Mitchell in recent years has been La Lumiere School of La Porte, Indiana, where some team members have F-1 visas.

F-1 visas have exploded in use by foreign athletes, according to testimony Wednesday.

Football classes

The board proposed the enrollment points for the seven classes of high school football in South Dakota. Only male enrollments will be used.

Class 11AAA -- Minimum 400 male students and at least the eight largest schools.

Class 11AA -- Between 225 and 399.999 male students and at least eight schools.

Class 11A -- Between 100 and 224.999 male students.

Class 11B -- Between 56.01 and 99.999 male students.

Nine man -- Schools with no more than 56 male students, to be divided evenly into thirds to form three classes.

The proposal will be up for final approval at the board's Aug. 28 meeting.

Board elections

Because they were unopposed, Steve Morford, of Spearfish, and Roger Bordeaux, of Todd County, were automatically elected to director slots for the board's West River and Native American seats.

They succeed Paulson, of Rapid City, and Eldon Marshall, of White River, whose terms are expiring. The association allows directors to serve only one term.

Run-off elections are under way for two other seats that currently are vacant.

Sandy Klatt, of Brandon Valley, and James Hansen, of Rapid City, were top finishers for the large-schools' board of education member.

Linda Whitney, of Sanborn Central, and Mike Lodmel, of Tri-Valley, were top finishers for the Division III schools' seat.

Balloting ends July 7 for those run-offs.

Calling it quits

A proud tradition is ending. Freeman High School wants a waiver for its football players to be allowed to disperse to other schools for this fall's season because there aren't enough interested to be a team.

Freeman finished with 11 healthy players in 2013, according to Dan Hotchkiss, the school district's superintendent and athletic director.

His hope was that the football players wouldn't lose their eligibility for Freeman's track and basketball teams.

He said the plan calls for Freeman to join another high school in a football cooperative for the 2015 season. He said he's spoken with Canistota and Marion-Menno schools.

The board didn't act on the request.

Freeman won state 9-man championships as recently as 1981, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999.

Hotchkiss said the football team's 2013 coach left the school district and no one has applied for the vacancy. He's also looking for a vocational agriculture teacher and no one's applied for that, either.