Reservation football teams throughout South Dakota are considering a departure from the current high school football league, which is under the umbrella of the South Dakota High School Activities Association, to form a new league called the ‘All Nations Football Conference.’
A proposal was brought forward on Wednesday during the SDHSAA board of directors meeting.
There are currently twelve teams who are committed to joining this newly created league, and the teams would be separated into two divisions. The west division would consist of Eagle Butte, Little Wound, Crazy Horse, Red Cloud, Pine Ridge, and Takini, while the eastern division would include Crow Creek, Flandreau Indian, Tiospa Zina, Lower Brule, St. Francis, and McLaughlin.
Of the twelve teams, eight would make the playoffs, more than likely four in each division, and then a standard bracket format would decide the two teams who would compete in the championship game.
According to activities association assistant executive director John Krogstrand, this proposal isn’t a shock to those connected with the topic.
“The schools have probably spoke about a concept like this for a number of years,” said Krogstrand. “The only thing new is that there’s now a more formal proposal on the table.”
One of the main reasons why a Native American high school football league is being considered is because tribal schools are looking for ways to increase participation in the sport of football. It’s also noted that within the 36-years that there have been football playoffs through the South Dakota High School Activities Association, a tribal school is yet to compete for a state championship.
In December, during the Lakota Nations Invitational event in Rapid City, a committee will meet once again to further discuss the possibility of the ‘All Nations Football Conference.’
If everything continues to progress forward, it’s possible for the new league to be active in the fall of 2019.
There will also be reclassification, along with a new 6-man football class, occurring this offseason with SDHSAA high school football.