VALLEY CITY -- High school football in North Dakota will look very different come the fall of 2021.
Tuesday the North Dakota High School Activities Association approved a plan that will fundamentally change how football looks in a couple years. The association approved new guidelines that will go into effect for the fall of 2021 and last for four years.
Also worth noting in the football plan, there will be four classes in North Dakota beginning in 2021, with new names:— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) March 31, 2020
Football will still have four classes in the state, but they will have new names; 11AA, 11A, 11B and 9B. Three schools that have been in the biggest class, Fargo North and South and Grand Forks Red River, would now be in the second biggest division, but have the option to move up. The final two divisions, 11B and 9B are made up of Class B schools.
Those schools could still opt to play an Eastern Dakota Conference schedule, while playing in the second biggest class. All schools have until September 18th to decided if they are going to opt up or down for the 2021 season.
"If you've been a competitive program in the top half for many years, you don't like it, but if you've been at the bottom with competitive balance, those programs like it." Shanley head coach Troy Mattern said.
Shanley just returned to the top division in North Dakota this past fall with some immediate success, including a win over EDC champion Sheyenne.
'We've told our kids no matter we're going to stay in triple A, with our numbers we fall in the second biggest class, we're going to play at the highest level." Mattern said.
The 11AA class is made up of Minot, West Fargo Sheyenne, Williston, West Fargo, Bismarck Century, Bismarck Legacy, Bismarck High, Fargo Davies, Dickinson, Grand Forks Central and Mandan. Dickinson and Central have the option to move down in 2021.