October 23, 2008

Future of Class B high school sports system remains questionable


Do North Dakota Class B schools with enrollments larger than other Class B schools have an unfair advantage in basketball? Class B fans have debated that question for years. That question is again before the North Dakota High School Activities Association and how to resolve it.

One resolution, the three-class-system, didn’t gain enough support when it was proposed by the NDHSAA Board of Directors. Center-Stanton Superintendent of Schools Royal Lyson, also board president, is in favor of the three-class-system, but believes another proposal has more support.

"I pushed for the three-class-system, but it never went through," Lyson said. "I believe the 40-80 plan will be approved."

There are approximately 120 Class B schools in North Dakota. If approved, the 40-80 plan would affect only boys’ and girls’ basketball in those schools. Those with higher enrollments would be put into the "40" category and those with smaller enrollments would be placed in the "80" group. Lyson said that those numbers "are not set in stone." Four teams would advance to the State tournament from each group.

"This arrangement would keep the interest in each of the Class B State tournaments and also there would be more excitement in the regional tournaments," Lyson said. "We haven’t had a lot of small schools in the State tournament. We hope this will give them more of a chance to get there."

According to a recent area news article, Bottineau has won the last three State girls’ basketball championships. Larimore won in 2003 and 2004 and Langdon won in 2005. Those schools would be in the top 40 division.

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