The debate about expanding classes in South Dakota sports has been a hot topic since the development of Class 11AAA in football. Volleyball is now being discussed for a change.

South Dakota high school volleyball consists of three current classes, Class AA, A, and B. Teams are not evenly spread between each class. Class AA consists of the 18 largest schools split in four districts. There is a large jump in the amount of teams in Class A as it consists of 51 teams in eight districts. The rest of the schools in the state are grouped into Class B with 16 districts with 92 teams total.

The extra class being discussed would be to split Class B. With 92 total teams, the level of difficulty to win a state title is much higher than the other classes. On top of that, the difference between the top teams in the class and the bottom teams is substantial.

This past season, Warner won another state title after a 28-1 regular season. Teams like Sully Buttes, Summit, Arlington, Parker, Wall, and Jones County all had great seasons spread across the state. Unfortunately for some schools, this past season was a struggle and not just in wins/losses. Teams like Crazy Horse, Wakpala, Tiospaye Topa, and Lower Brule have combined to play 43 games.

Just looking at those numbers, there is a case that could be made to split and make another class of volleyball. However, the other side of the argument is how much more would this cause for other sports?

When football made the jump, it was about the competition and how the Class AA teams couldn't compete with the teams now in Class AAA. If volleyball was to make a move in Class B to allow another sector to "compete," how long before sports such as wrestling, basketball, or track and field decide that they need to change the system? How long before a state of 844,877 has 4-6 classes for each sport?

This is nothing more than a discussion at this point. There is no formal proposal, and if there was it would have to pass through the volleyball committee before it even hits the SDHSAA for a vote.

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