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Sweet 16 proposals advance at AD's conference

OACOMA--Class AA and Class B postseason formats for basketball and volleyball moved one step closer to the Sweet 16 this week. The spring conference for the South Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association was held over the past t...

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OACOMA-Class AA and Class B postseason formats for basketball and volleyball moved one step closer to the Sweet 16 this week.

The spring conference for the South Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association was held over the past three days in Oacoma and while a wide range of items were voted upon, the Sweet 16 postseason proposals for Class AA and Class B were the two topics that drew the most statewide attention.

Proposals for seeding the two classes of basketball and volleyball each passed at the SDIAAA meeting. The proposals are not official until adopted by the South Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors at their regular meeting on April 18-19 in Pierre. The final vote is June 8 in Pierre.

Class A went to the format this past season, where the final two teams in each region qualified for the Sweet 16 and then reseeded 1-through-16. Class B would adopt a similar format, if approved. If passed, it could go into effect next season.

In Class AA, the top 16 schools based on the regular season seed points would qualify to a Sweet 16 contest. Schools outside the top 16 would not qualify for postseason play. The top eight seeds would host the one contest, with the winner advancing to state and the loser is eliminated.

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The Class AA athletic directors passed the proposal by a 10-8 vote for basketball and volleyball. Mitchell athletic director Cory Aadland is not in favor of the change, citing financial concerns and it would also eliminate traditional rivals in postseason play.

"The district atmosphere that we have with our district three rivals and those kind of things, we would lose that," Aadland said. "That would be something I would like to be able to keep."

But Aadland added he is not against change.

"I would be open to changing something," he said. "But what we changed to this one-the Sweet 16-that wasn't something I wanted to support."

Aadland said just because the AD's passed the proposals through this time, it doesn't mean the board of directors will next month.

"If it is not a big enough margin, they have shown they won't necessarily pass it on because it was approved," Aadland said. "I could see that happening. I could see it passing because there has been a big push statewide to kind of go to something because there is some momentum to it and there is a lot of people talking about it with the A's going to it."

In Class B, districts will be eliminated and instead teams would go straight to region play. Each region would play until two teams are left and then reseed 1-through-16 using SDHSAA seeding formula. Sweet 16 winners would qualify for the state tournament.

The Class B Sweet 16 format for basketball and volleyball was passed by 70 percent, said Sanborn Central athletic director Tim McCain. He's in support of the format for Class B.

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"I think it would be best to move forward with the Sweet 16," McCain said. "Class A I know has been doing it. It sounds like it has been pretty successful and there haven't been any real negative comments that have come back to the high school activities board."

McCain is also in favor of the move because then all three classes would have similar postseason formats.

"I just think it would be something we need to look at here going forward and try to get everybody uniform on how you get to a state tournament," McCain said. "We have got Class A doing one way and Class B doing another way and Class AA doing another way. I think if we got uniform and everybody did the same, it would be a better situation for high school basketball."

Also of note for Class B, the addition of a fourth class was discussed. Some schools would make a strong push for the fourth class, if the Sweet 16 is passed.

That was not voted upon, but it could be in the future. West River schools, in general, are in favor of the fourth class.

McCain feels a fourth class would be too many for South Dakota.

"In a way, I think it would be for the size of our state," he said. "But they have done a lot of comparisons to the other states around us and how many classes they have. So they may have a little bit of an argument that way."

Class B volleyball postseason plan for six regions and four at-large teams meeting in a playoff for the final two state berths was voted down.

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