Eye on southwest ND sports

Sheldon COLUMN BOXThe North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA) Board of Directors voted unanimously not to allow a dissolution of New England’s football co-op with Dickinson Trinity prior to the start of next season.

New England High School had appealed an earlier ruling that would not allow the dissolution of the football co-op.  This of course means the proposed co-op of New England and Mott-Regent is also cancelled for the 2016 football season.

This was a disappointment to New England personnel, who feel their students are not receiving the same opportunities to achieve what’s being afforded to Trinity students.

The NDHSAA board of directors has announced their high school football plan for the 2017 and 2018 seasons but it won’t be finalized until this fall.  The 2017-2018 plan calls for 14 teams to make up Class 3A (down from the current 16), 10 teams to make up Class 2A (down from the current 16) and 32 teams to make up Class 1A (up from the current 24). The remainder of schools will play 9-man unless they elect to play independent 6-man football.  The plan would have Jamestown and Devils Lake move from 3A to Class 2A.

Final division assignments for the 2017-2018 plan will be presented to membership in October and later approved by the NDHSAA.

I emailed Kevin Morast at NDHSAA and questioned about how a division of only 10 teams could make for a competitive division?  He followed up with the following explanation;

“The football plan will not be made final until October, although I don’t see those numbers changing.  The reasoning behind those numbers is due to the fact the survey that was sent to member schools.  The results were overwhelming that competitive balance was more important than number of divisions, travel etc.  Also in that survey schools were asked what division they thought they belonged in.  Those numbers closely resemble that of the plan.   The committee also used ratios in order to help determine the number in each division.  The ratio pertains to adjusted enrollment from the top team in the division to the bottom team in that division.  The ratio was much more balanced in the AAA division with 14 and the AA division with 10.  Expanding the numbers in the top two division sent the ratio much higher and would affect the competitive balance which member schools told us was most important.”

The ratio he talks about pertains to how many students qualify for free or reduces meals.  The more students in that category lowers the schools enrollment numbers that the NDHSAA uses for class determination.  For instance, Standing Rock has an enrollment 147, but having so many on free and reduced meals their enrollment was adjusted to 76.35.

Something to think about, there are currently 21 basketball teams in Class A and eight of them will make the state tourney.  That gives a team a 38% chance of qualifying for the state tourney.  Class B has 109 teams and with eight qualifying for state, a team only has a 7% chance of making it.

I think only four teams should compete for the state title in Class A, two from the West and two from the East.   Have both the boys and girls tournament together and it can be completed in two days.  The semi-finals on day one with the third/fourth place games and finals on day two.

Tyler Rozell scored 21 points to lead undefeated Warner to a 60-43 win over Irene-Wakonda in the SD Class B boys’ basketball state championship game in Aberdeen on March 19.  De Smet handed second-seeded Harding County its third loss of the tournament with a win in the seventh place game.

I would also like to give a shout-out to Nolan Dix of KNDC radio for his broadcasting of Night Hawk sporting events.  I know he catches some criticism for covering one sport more than another.  But with three major high school sports on the winter sports schedule he cannot cover all of them.  On top of that he has two boys involved, one in wrestling and the other in basketball.  And I would assume sponsors also have a say in the matter.  Keep up the great work Nolan.

I thought Fred Fridley do a great job as the analyst for the State Class B Basketball Tournament.

Sports schedule for the coming week is as follows:

•March 25, Hettinger Husky Duals Tournament at Bismarck

•March 25-26, Hettinger Husky Individual Tournament at Bismarck

• March 29, Girls Elementary Volleyball triangular vs Ht. River and Trinity at Trinity

See you at the games!