Advisory Committee Proposes Five Class Football System
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Changes Coming To High School Football
Brian Gevik - SDPB

High school football in South Dakota could see its seven-class system changed in the year 2021. On Thursday, the football advisory committee of the South Dakota High School Activities Association proposed a change that would move South Dakota’s high school football classes from seven down to five.

It’s pretty simple, three classes of eleven-man football and two classes of nine-man – back to what the setup was in the late 90’s. Here are what the classes would be… 11AA, 11A, 11B, 9A, and 9B.

Class 11AA would include the top nine schools in South Dakota, according to average daily membership, and then O’Gorman would do what they’re doing now and petition up to give 11AA ten total teams. Class 11A would include the next 16 schools based on size, and 11B would include the remaining eleven-man teams.

For nine-man football, all of the schools currently in the three-class system would be divided evenly into two classes – again based on ADM.

In an interview with The Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand said, “all parties involved essentially came to the meeting with (classifications) as a priority for discussion.”

Discussions heated up in 2019 about the seven-class system with lower class teams beating higher class opponents. Class 11AA specifically struggled mightily against lower class opponents this past season. As a whole, Class 11AA was 7-11 in the season against schools in 11A and 11B. The only two programs in 11AA not to lose to a lower class opponent were Brookings and Pierre – both made the state title game.

So what’s next in the five-class football process? The proposal put forth by the football advisory committee will travel next to the athletic directors of South Dakota’s member schools for their recommendation. If the AD’s approve a recommendation on it in March, then the board of directors of the SDHSAA would also have to pass two readings of the proposal for it to be implemented.

The current seven class system for football will continue next fall regardless, as this new proposal wouldn’t go into effect until the 2021 season.