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Tom Mix, Published June 18 2013

NDHSAA Board approves Class B boys and girls basketball seasons switch

VALLEY CITY, N.D. – The order of the North Dakota Class B basketball seasons returns to girls first, boys last in 2014-15.

The North Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors voted 8-1 on Tuesday to approve the switch in start dates of the Class B boys and girls seasons.

Prior to the board’s decision, district chairs voted 12-4 in favor of the switch.

“There is nothing bad about it,” NDHSAA Executive Secretary Sherm Sylling said of the board’s decision. “It was something where we need to be reminded that we work for our schools. When the majority of our schools are saying this is what we want and we are able to do it without hurting something else, we should do it.”

In 2010-11, the start of the boys season was moved up due to the overlap the girls season was experiencing with volleyball.

The switch meant the B boys state tournament would no longer be the final tournament of the winter sports season, which had become a state tradition. It also prevented the tournament from being held at the Bismarck Civic Center, a venue the event had performed well at financially.

“We had reports from the different regional meetings that came back to us and the district chair meeting recommendations,” board member at Fargo Public Schools activities director Todd Olson said. “I feel good about the feedback we received in making our decision.”

The switch won’t impact the NDHSAA’s approved state tournament site rotation calendar. The future sites of the B boys and girls tournaments will essentially flip-flop.

In 2014-15, the B boys tournament now will be hosted at the Bismarck Civic Center on March 19-21. It had initially been slotted to be at the Minot State Dome on March 5-7, which now will be the site and dates of the B girls tournament.

Besides the schedule switch, more change is coming to Class B basketball.

The board voted 5-4 to approve the seeding of the Class B basketball, volleyball and baseball tournaments for the 2013-14 season.

The seeding procedure for those tournaments will be determined by the NDHSAA staff and will be proposed to the board for approval today.

“I have heard of it happening in other states and it has gone over fairly well,” board member and Kindred School District Superintendent Steve Hall said. “I think it provides an opportunity to add a little change to the state tournament format. I think it’s worth a try, and we’ll see how it works for our fans and the student-athletes participating in those tournaments.”

The board’s decision does away with the pre-determined pairings based on rotation of the eight regions the tournaments had used in the past.

“Because we don’t always have a basis for comparison, I think this gives the coaches participating an opportunity to hopefully avoid having a state championship matchup on Thursday afternoon,” Olson said. “We will always have upsets, but this will create a lot of talk about the tournaments.”

“It’s an exciting change,” Sylling added. “It’s new, and it might add some excitement to the tournaments. We can’t come up with a perfect system, and this way some thought goes into it.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562