SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Plans to overhaul South Dakota’s high school football class system are gaining traction.
An advisory committee is recommending to reconfigure the seven-class system to five.
The panel is proposing the five classes would be 11AA, 11A, 11B, 9A and 9B. While some coaches say the idea has merit, others aren’t completely sold.
The Washington High School football team currently plays in 11AAA.
Chad Stadem is their coach, but he hasn’t stood on the sidelines just watching when it comes to the state’s classification system.
“I think it creates a better balance competitiveness,” Stadem said.
Stadem and a few other coaches have been tossing the five class system idea around for years and finally made an official recommendation to the advisory committee. They think a seven class system is outdated and here’s why.
“You have smaller classes beating larger classes and consistently especially in the 11 man this year you saw 11 A classes beating AA, and that just goes to show you that I think we’re watered down,” Stadem said.
South Dakota last used a five class system back in 1998.
“We know that basically over the last 20 years, we’ve essentially lost one team a year on average just through school consolidation, cooperatives and population drift and shift, so I think it was just time to take an in depth look at our classification system that’s really what the committee did” South Dakota Assistant Activities Director John Krogstrand said.
When they met, there was one thing they all agreed on.
“I think everybody that came forward really was in favor of fewer than seven classes. It was just a matter of figuring out which way to put the pieces and which way to align things,” Krogstrand said.
Stadem says a five class system will be more meaningful to the coaches, players and their towns.
“I mean, you win a state championship. It’s a big deal and you should be a big deal, especially in the big class you’re going against the best coaches and the best all that, and you want. You want to feel like you earn something when you earn something it’s a lot more meaningful,” Stadem said.
The state’s athletic directors will all get to vote on the proposal at the end of March.
If it passes, the new class system could go into effect in the fall of 2021.