PIERRE — The state’s high school athletic directors will discuss a possible change in football classifications and the soccer season when they meet in late March.

The South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors found out about the proposed changes Wednesday as they reviewed a report from the football advisory committee.

At its last meeting, the football advisory committee voted unanimously to propose changing to five football classifications, down from seven. According to the committee report, there have been multiple schools asking for some sort of change in the classification structure.

The proposal calls for:

  • Class 11AA—to include the nine largest schools by male-only average daily membership and Sioux Falls O’Gorman. O’Gorman was included because it always goes up a division to compete with the largest schools. Teams in this class would play a nine game schedule and have an eight team postseason.

  • Class 11A—to include the next 16 largest schools by male-only ADM. Teams in this class would play a nine game schedule and have an eight team postseason.

  • Class 11B—to include all remaining schools with a 56.001 male-only ADM and greater. Teams in this division would play an eight game schedule and have a 16 team postseason.

  • Class 9A—to include the top half of all nine-man teams by male-only ADM. Teams in this division would play an eight game schedule and have a 16 team postseason.

  • Class 9B—to include the bottom half of all nine-man teams by male-only ADM which would play an eight game schedule and have a 16 team postseason.

Currently there are seven divisions, four for 11-man football and three for nine-man football.

The change must be approved by the athletic directors and then by the SDHSAA board. It would take effect in the 2021 fall season.

Athletic directors will also consider a proposal from the soccer advisory committee that calls for changing the sport from a fall activity to a spring activity.

SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand said with football and volleyball in the fall, some schools have a tough time fielding soccer teams.

“A spring season, potentially allows those athletes to participate,” Krogstrand said.

All Nations Football Conference looks at adding teams

PIERRE — The inaugural season of the All Nations Football Conference was a success. That was the message that the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s board of directors heard Wednesday from Lower Brule Superintendent Lance Witte.

Witte said the conference started with 12 teams from tribal schools. Three of those schools weren’t regularly fielding football teams. The schools saw a participation increase of 60%, Witte said.

“This is a tremendous success story,” said SDHSAA board member Brian Maher of Sioux Falls.

With more players on the teams, Witte said athletes were more likely to stick with the sport. “It’s just been a better overall experience for athletes,” Witte said.

Crow Creek was the first champion of the conference with the championship game played at the Dakota Dome in front of about 1,200 people.

Witte asked the board if it would be possible to play the conference championship game during the SDHSAA football championships at the Dakota Dome. He said there may be time available the morning of Nov. 14 prior to the 11AAA game.

The conference is in negotiations to add four schools, Witte said, two from Nebraska as well as teams from Standing Rock and McLaughlin.