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Jason Miller, Published January 06 2010

Miller: Time to stop pushing for a 3-class system

Class, does anyone have a new idea for a three-class system in North Dakota?

Class? Anyone? Beulah? Beulah?

In the latest effort to add more teams to North Dakota high school state tournaments, Beulah activities director Mitch Lunde is part of an effort to add a third (middle-division) state tournament for basketball and volleyball.

A group of athletic directors and administrators from schools with enrollment from 200-500 students as well as private schools will get together Tuesday in Carrington to talk about the latest idea to change the landscape of North Dakota prep sports.

It’s a plan that has plenty of holes and likely won’t happen. I can’t imagine the North Dakota High School Activities Association’s members getting behind this even if it moves forward after Tuesday’s meeting. Plus, these three-class proposals have routinely been voted down by member schools.

There’s too much love for the Class B boys basketball tournament. And that’s a good thing.

Whether this idea gains steam or not, these efforts should stop. Hasn’t North Dakota learned anything from its neighbor Minnesota?

Minnesota basketball used to be set up perfectly. Two classes. Lots of schools competing for a few berths at state. The beauty of two classes is that it really meant something when your team moved on to the Twin Cities.

Now, with 12 classes, or whatever they have in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, everything is watered down. Going to state isn’t the accomplishment it once was.

Good teams often didn’t make it to the state tournament. But people understood that fact because of the high level of competition. Some very solid teams would lose in region title games and miss out on that state tournament experience. But those seasons were still viewed as major successes.

The atmosphere at region basketball tournaments in Minnesota was always top-notch. Now, with so many classes, the value of a run to state is often diminished.

Don’t go down that same road, North Dakota. Please. For the love of Scott Guldseth.

Keep things the way they are. Every kid doesn’t need a medal. Or a state tournament experience. It isn’t always meant to be. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Adding classes, or some strange mid-level state tournament, would only harm what now works just fine.

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Jason Miller at (701) 451-5651

or jmiller@forumcomm.com