The South Dakota high school football advisory committee has recommended and made a proposal to drop the current seven classes down to five.

Currently, South Dakota high school football is made up of seven different classes. Those are split between four 11-man and three 9-man classes. Since Class 11AAA was implemented in 2013, debates have been sparked each year regarding the number of classes that South Dakota really needs.

Discussions and debates will only increase moving forward. Looking ahead to the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 seasons, any changes to classifications would have to start discussions now. The advisory committee has opened that door.

According to Brian Haenchen of the Argus Leader, the proposal from the advisory committee will be to drop the seven classes down to five. The five classes would be split in this manner:

  • 11AA - Nine largest schools by enrollment plus O'Gorman. This would include the new Sioux Falls Jefferson that will open in the next few years. O'Gorman would, as they have, petition up to join the class.
  • 11A - The next 16 largest schools by enrollment.
  • 11B - The rest of the teams remaining in 11-man football
  • 9A/9B - All 9-man schools would then be split evenly between the two classes.

The "projected alignments" based on the numbers for this current two-year run can be found through Haenchen's article in the Argus Leader.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE - This is a proposal that has been set by the football advisory committee. This DOES NOT mean that as of today this is implemented and final. Now that the proposal has been drawn up, it will be sent to the activities directors of the schools in the SDHSAA to vote. If the activities directors recommend the change, the proposal will be sent to the SDHSAA Board of Directors for two readings. If the proposal passes the two readings by the SDHSAA Board of Directors, it will then be put in place.

The advisory committee also put a proposal in for a mercy rule for 11AAA/11AA along with a few other small changes.

All of these proposals will move forward to a vote by the athletic directors this upcoming March.

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