The SDHSAA Advisory Committee has released their recommended changes to high school sports for the future. Here's what being discussed this year.

The annual SDIAAA Conference will be held this year in Deadwood from March 27-29. Discussions will take place regarding potential changes to high school sports, and some of those changes could start at the beginning of next season depending on the issue. Athletic directors will cast their votes during the SDIAAA meetings.

This is not a be-all, end-all meeting. These are topics that are presented and then voted on by the activities directors to bring them to the annual SDHSAA Board of Directors meetings April 16-17. The topics have to pass the advisory committee/activities directors, first round of voting by the Board of Directors, and a final vote later this summer.

Some of the prospective changes that are being discussed include six-man football, changing the Class AA schedule for basketball, and also adding a play-in game for the Round of 16 in Class AA.

Football

There are five items being discussed in regards to high school football this offseason. Most of them won't be any form of an argument or feature a lot of disagreements.

The first item being discussed is to allow teams in 11AAA, 11AA, and 11A to start practices at the same time that 11B and the 9-man classes. This would allow extra time for coaches in those classes to work around weather and also provide more practice time. This currently stands as a 6-0 vote by the committee in favor.

There is talk about conferences and helping the SDHSAA balance out the schedule as much as possible. This also is an easy 5-1 vote in favor.

Even the officials are in on the fun. The advisory committee is recommending an increase for officials to $125 per varsity game they work. The idea is that officials will have more incentive to continue, as there is a shortage of officials in South Dakota. It is also being recommended that a sixth official is added for Class 11AAA and 11AA games. Both currently have a 6-0 committee vote in favor.

Most of the arguments and discussion will surround the addition of six-man football in South Dakota. The advisory committee has recommended adding a class of six-man football starting with the 2019-2020 season. The idea would be to replace Class 9B and be open to all schools with an enrollment of 40 or less kids. The committee has voted 6-0 in favor of moving this forward.

Basketball

The new Round of 16 for this season has brought a positive change to basketball but it has also given us a little bit of room to grow. Most of the items that are being brought up are to help alleviate some of the issues brought up this season.

Under a new proposal, teams would be penalized more for playing schools in a lower classification. The recommendation is to deduct the current system of two seed points for playing a team in one classification lower, or three points for two classifications lower through the first five games of the season. After five games the deduction will move to four points and five points respectively. This proposal is being discussed mostly to balance out the schedules in Class AA and give more incentive to the west river schools to play against teams in their class. The committee is slightly in favor of this with a 4-3 vote.

There is a full 7-0 unanimous vote to move back the Round of 16 one week later. This year we have seen an almost two-week break between the Round of 16 and the start of the state tournament in Class AA.

This season we saw two teams left out of the Round of 16 in Class AA. Teams in positions 17 and 18 were just dropped from having the chance at going to state. A new proposal eliminates that and implements a play-in game for seeds 15/16/17/18. Under the proposal, team 15 would host 18 and 16 would host 17 for the right to play in the Round of 16. This would get rid of just dropping two teams from the equation, but also add two more playoff games. The committee is fully in favor with a 7-0 vote to move this forward.

These are just some of the recommendations that will be discussed at the upcoming meetings. There are recommendations to change rules in almost every sport the SDHSAA has to offer.

A full list of the proposals and recommendations has been released. Again, this isn't set in stone and just the first step to move these changes forward.


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