Sweet-16 Playoff Format In South Dakota High School Basketball/Volleyball Takes Big Step

Last Updated by Nate Wek on

The Sweet-16 format is one step closer to becoming ‘the law of the land’ for all classes of high school basketball in South Dakota.

On Tuesday, the board of the South Dakota High School Activities Association passed proposals for the new format in both Class AA and Class B.

The Class AA sweet-16 format for basketball passed the activities board with a 6-3 vote, while the Class B proposal passed 8-1.

Later in the day, the board also passed the same proposals with high school volleyball.

Argus Leader High School Sports Reporter Brian Haenchen (Hen-chin) says this has been a highly debated topic over the past couple of months, especially in the double A class.

"Are we trying to preserve these regional set ups and these regional rivalries and all these things, or are we really trying to figure out who the best eight teams are and and figure out who deserves to be at the state tournament?"

Multiple discussions took place on Tuesday at the SDHSAA board meeting in Pierre. Proponents hailed from the east side of the state, while a majority of the opponents were from the west side.

For Class AA this new format would take the best sixteen teams at the end of the regular season, re-seed them No. 1 - No. 16 and a one round slate of eight games would take place to decide the eight teams who would advance to the state tournament.

In Class B, it would follow the same format as Class A. District games would still take place until there are sixteen teams remaining. Once they have the final sixteen teams, the rankings would be re-seeded No. 1 - No. 16 and eight region round games would take place to decide the eight remaining teams to compete for a state title.

At the Athlete Directors meeting last month, the AD’s voted in favor of the Sweet-16 format for Class AA 10-8. The Class B vote from the Athletic Directors was a little more one sided, 46-29.

Both Class A basketball and volleyball are already involved in the Sweet-16 format, and it’s their successful run within the system that has decision makers within the state convinced that this change would work well in the other two classes.

Because the proposals all passed on Tuesday, they’ll advance to a second reading at the High School Activities Association meeting in June. If there aren’t any changes in the votes, the new format would go into effect next year.

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