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Tom Mix, Published June 18 2012

Future of Central Valley seniors among issues to be discussed at NDHSAA meetings

FARGO – The football future of Central Valley seniors Dusty Schildberger and Ethan Proznik will be determined today.

Schildberger and Proznik are in the middle of a debate on whether the pair should be allowed to play their senior season as members of the Hillsboro High School football team this coming fall.

An April 16th decision by the North Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors denied a proposal for the two players to join the Burros.

The issue will be resolved today when school officials from Central Valley and Hillsboro submit a formal appeal that will be reviewed and voted on at the NDHSAA meetings in Valley City. The meetings extend into Wednesday.

“I’m just hoping the board of directors will take a good look at it,” Former Central Valley football coach and activities director Randy Vigen said. “I know they have a policy in place that covers these situations. I hope they look at it as an individual basis. This is a unique situation. It’s no fault of the two seniors that have the possibility of giving up their senior years.”

Central Valley and Hillsboro currently co-op in every sport and extracurricular activity except football. An attempt to submit a co-op for football in the spring of 2010 for the 2011-12 school year failed. North Dakota operates on a two-year plan for football scheduling and when Central Valley’s numbers declined after last season, it was determined the school wouldn’t field a varsity squad for the upcoming 2012-13 school year.

That left Schildberger, Proznik and the rest of the Valiants without a home.

Central Valley is also appealing for its players in grades 9-11 to play junior varsity football at Hillsboro this season, but only Schildberger and Proznik would be eligible for varsity time. Vigen also said he’d like the NDHSAA to change its co-op form to include a section to include sub-varsity co-ops in football.

The schools are also formally submitting a co-op application in football for the 2013-14 school year.

“It’s sad because if our kids don’t have football next year, and then the following year the co-op is approved for 2013-14 school year, what are the chances they’ll be out for football the following year?” Vigen said. “That will then affect the Hillsboro-Central Valley co-op. It would affect this year and next year.”

The Central Valley football issue isn’t the only item on the NDHSAA meeting agenda that has the potential to shake up the state’s high school sports landscape.

Big changes in how the pairings of the Class B boys and girls basketball tournaments are determined could be approved by the board today.

A seeding system for both tournaments as well as Class B volleyball has been brought forth by a district chair recommendation.

It’s one of four recommendations and other issues that will be discussed and voted on at the North Dakota High School Activities Association meetings today and Wednesday in Valley City. Today’s meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. at the NDHSAA offices.

“In a way it kind of makes sense,” Kindred head girls basketball coach Perry Piatz said. “You always want the best teams to be in the opposite brackets. There have been a lot of times when the top two teams in the state have met in the first round whether it is boys or girls, and I just don’t think that’s right. But on the other hand, it is pretty hard to do in seeding these teams.”

The district chair recommendation for seeding the tournaments would follow these guidelines:

E The head coaches of the qualifying teams would electronically rank the other seven team 1-7.

E The high and low rakings would be thrown out and the five remaining scores would be averaged.

E The four lowest averages are ranked 1-4 and the remaining four teams are randomly drawn. Ties would be settled by pulling the votes of the other tied teams’ coaches and then recalculated from the remaining votes.

An advisory committee voted 12-4 in favor of the seeding system, which NDHSAA Assistant to the Executive Secretary Brian Bubach said the 11-member board of directors will take into consideration when voting at the meetings.

The current pairings formula revolves on a continuous eight-year cycle. For example, the Region 1 champion in boys basketball may play the Region 8 winner one year and then the Region 7 winner the next year.

“I think I like the way it is,” said former Central Cass boys basketball coach Troy Roesler. “When we have enough teams, it’s nice to have that element of surprise. Beulah proved that this year when they knocked off the 1-, 2- and 3-ranked teams. How would you have seeded that? They ended up winning the tournament.”

Other recommendations from the district chair include making the boys and girls shot clocks the same at 35 seconds, switching the girls basketball season to begin first before the boys season and allowing the creation of a 14-foot coaching box that can be adjusted to fit different gymnasiums across the state.

Other items of note

A change in the point structure for region boys and girls hockey could be voted on. Three points would be awarded for a regulation win, two points for an overtime or shootout win and one point for an overtime or shootout loss … An athletic review voted 8-1 in favor of counting all medical forfeits and defaults in the individual region tournament toward seeding criteria.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562