Hotzler: North Dakota preps, 3-class may work, but hard to pull off
Some in North Dakota believe the current system for prep basketball and volleyball is broken. It's a numbers problem, they say. Schools with smaller enrollments are not getting enough opportunities to compete for a spot in the state tournament. I...
Some in North Dakota believe the current system for prep basketball and volleyball is broken.
It's a numbers problem, they say. Schools with smaller enrollments are not getting enough opportunities to compete for a spot in the state tournament.
In addition, attendance is waning at the Class B state basketball tournaments the past few years. It's time to re-energize the state's passion for small town sports.
So how do we fix the problem?
For several years, the only solution offered up has been a three-class system.
The final version of the latest three-class proposal was unveiled on Tuesday to the North Dakota High School Activities Association.
It's an interesting idea.
Basketball and volleyball will play as three divisions (Class AA, Class A and Class B) during the regular season, but only two state titles will be awarded at the end of the year.
Class AA (today's Class A teams) will have a champion, and Class A and B will each send four teams into a combined state tourney to battle for one crown.
This assures four schools of smaller enrollments get a spot at state. And four of the bigger schools in current Class B are assured a spot.
But does it solve the problem?
What it appears to do is put Class B in a box. Can you imagine the NCAA basketball tournament putting a cap on the number of BCS schools selected to the tournament?
As good-intentioned and inclusive as this proposal is trying to be, it's also being equally exclusionary.
Why would eight teams from this proposal's Class A not be allowed to play in the tournament? Why not eight teams from Class B?
And a closer look at the numbers shows there may not be a need to do something drastic to get smaller schools a shot at a title.
In the last five Class B boys state basketball tournaments, 24 of the 40 teams have been from this proposal's Class A and 16 were from Class B.
That's an average of 4.8 for Class A and 3.2 for Class B.
The truth is that a traditional three-class system may work in North Dakota. But the authors of this new proposal found out it would be very difficult to pull off.
Edgeley Superintendent Rick Diegel, who helped come up with the plan, told the NDHSAA on Tuesday that his group wanted a true three-class system that finished with three separate state tournaments.
But no preferred venue in the state could host a new third event for basketball because of scheduling conflicts.
So they settled on this plan.
Again, does it solve the problem they set out to fix?
NDHSAA member schools will decide the proposal's fate at a general assembly meeting Oct. 21 in Bismarck.
Odds and ends
West Fargo's Shane Siverson has wiped away a pair of Tony Reeves' school records in back-to-back football games. Siverson set a new school mark with a
96-yard touchdown run in the Packers' 15-14 loss to Bismarck Century in Week 2. He had a record 98-yard interception return for a touchdown in last week's 42-7 win against Fargo Davies. Siverson set both records (94 yard run, 87-yard interception return) in 1972. ... Fargo North senior midfielder Trevor Braeger became the first Spartan to score five goals in a game during an 8-1 win last week against Fargo Davies, according to North activities director Troy Cody.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Hotzler's blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com