2009-10 football realignment

The teams in Class AA.

2009-10 football realignment

Postby larrybird33 » Sat Nov 15, 2008 7:56 pm

Now that Watford City has won two of the last three state titles, the question has to be asked: Why again are we sending them down to single A football?

I know that their enrollment has dipped a little bit, but they'd still be AA if the NDHSAA hadn't decided to shrink AAA football to a 12 team division, which was totally unnecessary.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby steve34 » Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:36 am

Seriously, I don't mean to be negative, but you people have to learn to see the world outside of your own little box to understand what goes on.

Watford City is not being singled out to be "sent down" to 1A. The new plan is shrinking the top class of football, and it had ripple effects.

3A is currently defined as the top 16 enrollments in the state. Number 16 is Valley City, number 15 is Wahpeton, and number 14 is Devils Lake. Because Shanley and St. Mary's have opted up, two teams get to go down. Valley City is the first to go down, and the next could have been Wahpeton. Wahpeton chose to stay up, allowing Devils Lake to go down.

Before two years ago, the NDHSAA automatically classed all of the native american schools down a class, due to the fact that they are not traditionally strong in football. Under this system, Belcourt was automatically 2A, allowing only one team to opt down when the two privates opted up. Valley City was that team. The word is that a school, assumed to be Devils Lake, though it was never officially proven, threatened the NDHSAA with a reverse-descrimination lawsuit if they continued to show the native schools favoritism. That forced Belcourt to 3A, and allowed Devils Lake to opt down.

Belcourt decided very late in the game this year to play an independant schedule and take themselves out of playoff contention. This left the EDC with a loss of several games, leading the South playing at Edina, Shanley playing at Detroit Lakes, and other strange matchups. Seeing the trouble this could cause, the 3A schools asked the state to create a 12 team division as the top class, preventing the same problems to re-occur.

In 2009, the top 12 enrollments will be 3A--Minot, Williston, Dickinson, Mandan, Century, and Bis. High, and South, North, West Fargo, Red River, Central, and Jamestown. The new system does NOT allow for opting up into the top class, although teams can opt up to 2A, or 1A. Belcourt, St. Marys, Shanley, and Wahpeton will move to 2A in 2009.

Since 2A is a 16 team division, and six new teams are moving in, 5 teams must move out. Lisbon and Kindred will join the four new-comers, creating the six new teams, but Region II 2A was short a team this year. Those teams leaving include Watford City, Hazen, and Rugby, Bowman County, and Standing Rock. but I'm not certain. Two teams in Region I will move to Region II. Next year, 2A will look like this:

East: Wahpeton, Shanley, Oak Grove, Lisbon, Kindred, Valley City, Grafton, Devils Lake.
West: Devils Lake, Carrington, Belcourt, Bottineau, Minot Ryan, St. Marys, Trinity, Beulah.

It's worth mentioning that, with 5 teams moving down to 1A, Barnes County North and Griggs County Central co-oping to form a new 1A team, and Williams County moving up to 1A, several very large changes could have been made in that class. 1A is a 32 team divison, and is impacted the same way. Killdeer, Velva, Harvey, and Stanley, were all eligible to move to 9-man, and opted to stay 1A.

The thing you need to understand is that it's entirely possible for even a 1A champion to move to 9-man because a 3A team moves to 2A. It isn't just about this school and it's enrollment. It's about how they fit into the 12-16-32-rest format when co-ops dissolve and form and any other changes that are made. It could work the other way also. A 1A champ could have to come up to 2A if three or four 1A co-ops splinter into 9-man teams.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby windex » Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:01 am

Cavalier several years back after winning back to back to back also moved down due to enrollment numbers.

The problem that is occuring is that distance to travel and time out of school is a factor
that NDHSAA doesn't seem to be concerned with. AAA teams playing MN teams (less travel) and filling out there schedules instead of moving several down and disrupting everything.

Devils Lake to Dickinson ..... Beulah to Belcourt where in the past both teams were able to play in radius of 150 miles.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby larrybird33 » Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:21 am

I understand that there's a domino effect and that Watford City wasn't singled out. I just don't like that the AAA schools get to dictate what their division looks like, and I don't like the thought of only twelve teams competing for a trophy.

We have 15 teams willing to play AAA in North Dakota. Wahpeton, Shanley, and St. Mary's weren't begging to be moved down. Finding that 16th team was the problem. Devils Lake, Belcourt, and Valley City would be next in line, and they all want to be AA. Fine. How about playing AAA with 15 teams for two years until Fargo Davies enters the picture? Then you've got a nice 16 team division again, and the only thing you might have to adjust is your east region and west region. This would also prevent such a domino effect in the lower classes.

When Fargo Davies opens, the NDHSAA will have to look at the system all over again because I don't think they'll want a 13 team division. They'll probably add a 14th team, and that team will have to be one of the AA schools that just got moved down.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby larrybird33 » Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:46 am

It's also strange to allow teams to petition up at every level except to AAA.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby steve34 » Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:22 pm

The 3A teams didn't dictate what their division looks like. Belcourt did. Assign the blame where it belongs. I'm not a 3A guy, but it's not fair to tell them that they deserve to play a game less than everyone else just because someone doesn't want to play them.

And you don't have 15 "willing" to play 3A. Wahpeton's future numbers will make them look much more like 2A. I talked to Wahp's AD, who is also the FB coach, and he said that Wahpeton was willing to go where they were put. They were not forced out. They are happy to be a 2A school.

Shanley has informed the HSAA that they will be willing to come back when Davies enters the picture. Eventually, either Bismarck or West Fargo will have an additional public school, and 3A will expand without 2A changing much.

You can't play a season with a 15 game league. You need the right numbers for scheduling. 12 gets it done. Two six team conferences, 5 league games for everyone, and three more with a travel alliance in the other league. That leaves one game for everyone to do with what they please. Williston can play Sidney, South can keep Edina, and so on. With 14, the travel alliance becomes unbalanced, and the rotation gets ugly. 15 is worse. And they will actually come halfway with you when Davies enters, since there will be 14.

Here's a concept you need to start to embrace: The top 12 enrollment schools in North Dakota all look like each other. They all offer essentially the same activities. They all have the extra activites that we don't typcially see in a lot of schools, like swimming and diving, gymnastics, orchestra, soccer, and debate. They are a perfect class with each other. Breaking up that nice group because Watford City is too good to be A would be a travesty. Harvey, Velva, Stanley, and Killdeer apparantly are not worried about competing with Watford City, or they would move down to 9-man.

Oh, FYI: Every year that Cavalier won a title, they were opting up. They could have been A every season.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby dukefan32 » Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:16 pm

( Cough ) Three Class System ( Cough ) Class A, Class B, 9-Man ( Cough )



Excuse me, I must have a cold.... :D
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby larrybird33 » Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:42 pm

Thanks Steve for the inside info. I understand that the NDHSAA takes heat from a lot of angles and can't possibly please everyone. I also understand that it's tough to figure out what to do with Belcourt and all of the reservation schools. They're a long way from being competitive at the level where their enrollment says that they should play.

I would like to point out that Devils Lake HS and Lisbon HS don't exactly "look alike," and yet they'll be playing in the same class. We'll also have former 3A schools (Wahpeton, Shanley, St. Mary's) playing against former 1A schools (Kindred, Lisbon) next year.

No matter how the NDHSAA draws it up, there will always be big schools and small schools within every division. I get that, too. My school and a few others just happen to be at a disadvantage in the new 2A class and we'd prefer the old 2A, but we'll do our best.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby steve34 » Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:41 pm

I think Lisbon playing Devils Lake is more equitable than Devils Lake playing Minot.

And the three class system of football is a (cough) rediculous idea. You know, to everyone in here, before you spout your spew from your gums, go to a darn game and actually pay attention to something other than the cheerleaders and candied almonds. If you watched the South/Bismarck game, you should totally understand that those teams are capable of so many more things than any 2A team, ANY 2A TEAM, can do. I watched every game this weekend, and I think North Dakota is getting it right in football. There was an obvious step up in each of the classes.

The top 12 schools belong together in everything, period. The state is being held hostage in basketball and volleyball by administrators clinging to the idea that B Shot will magically return to some big glory hayday like they had 30 years ago. We need four in football, and either three in basketball, or a new system of two that expands Class A and separates divisions for the purposes of state tournament qualifying. This crap of three in football and a simple two in basketball has passed it's prime.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby larrybird33 » Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:00 am

Devils Lake plays Minot in everything except football.

(Football is the only sport where they are not in the same class).
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby steve34 » Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:14 am

And there's nothing wrong with that. Football is a huge depth issue. Devils Lake has a better opportunity to compete in sports that require less depth.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby digger » Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:45 am

steve34 wrote:East: Wahpeton, Shanley, Oak Grove, Lisbon, Kindred, Valley City, Grafton, Devils Lake.
West: Devils Lake, Carrington, Belcourt, Bottineau, Minot Ryan, St. Marys, Trinity, Beulah.

Where does Central Cass fit into this picture?
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby windex » Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:50 am

Devils Lake is only in the West ....Central Cass would be East
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby digger » Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:51 am

Never mind, noticed after the fact that DL was listed in both East and West. Central Cass must be East, DL is West.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby GRIDIRON GURU » Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:02 am

dukefan32 wrote:( Cough ) Three Class System ( Cough ) Class A, Class B, 9-Man ( Cough )



Excuse me, I must have a cold.... :D



It's impossible to keep everyone happy but the four class system is by far the best senario for North Dakota high school football.

I have always been a fan of the 4 class system in football and I also like the new plan other than the travel issues in the West.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby scruffy » Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:03 am

What will happen when Trinity moves down in a couple of years?? Will one of the larger "A" schools be moved back up, or will "AA" have only 15 teams?
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby ndlionsfan » Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:46 am

Somebody will have to be moved up to keep it at 16.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby Mandan » Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:48 am

scruffy wrote:What will happen when Trinity moves down in a couple of years?? Will one of the larger "A" schools be moved back up, or will "AA" have only 15 teams?



Considering the past, I would say there will be 16 teams, based on enrollment like always. Rugby, Watford City, and Standing Rock are above Trinity/New England in male enrollment on the current list, and one of those would be in AA if Trinity/NE had not elected to move up. They will determine the 16 teams, and if no A team wants to move up, they are stuck in AA. And if Trinity/NE happens to be in that top 16, that's where they will be. At 108, they are only 3 boys below Standing Rock, the largest class A team with 111. It is not out of the question that they could be in that top 16 in two years. Other schools have dropping enrollments too.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby NDplayin » Mon Nov 17, 2008 6:06 pm

Steve34,

I don't mean to be negative either, and I am glad you posted your opinion so that I could try my best to make some kind of sense about what the NDHSAA could possibly be thinking on this one. However, I disagree with you on several points.

I was appalled when I read your statement, " you people have to learn to see the world outside of your own little box to understand what goes on." Seriously?? Us people need to look outside of our little box??? Now I have read your post several times and it is possible I am still missing something, but tell me where and when did you ever look outside of your little box? Reading your statement it became obvious to me that the only box you seem to have any concern for is 3A, which by the way represents the smallest percentage of schools in North Dakota. You said yourself, "The new plan is shrinking the top class of football, and it had ripple effects." You are very right that the new plan has ripple effects. Ripple effects which were initially overlooked and still seem to be ignored. Ripple effects that could have some severely negative impacts on the majority of ND football.

I did not realize that the NDHSAA existed soley for the purpose of making scheduling easy for the top 12 schools. Your entire explination for this realignment was based on the fact that Belcourt dropped their Varsity schedule and left 15 teams in 3A. Considering the strength of Belcourts program, I think they did exactly what was right for their students, and I think you should be ashamed for blaming them for ruining the precious 3A class. In fact, lets look at just what was ruined. You make claims that it is so impossible to schedule a 15, 14, or 13 school leauge. So one conference of 7 and one of 8 is impossible? There is a noble concept out there called a bye week which seems to work wonders. In fact, after reading your post I googled some schedules from closely neighboring states as well as states like Texas (where HS football is supposedly king) and I couldn't find one state anywhere in which at least one of their football classes didn't have an odd numbered set up. All of those were filled with a bye week, and while it isnt ideal, high school football doesn't seem to be ruined in any of those states.

You see, I am confused because all this time I have been opperating under false pretenses. I incorrectly thought that when the NDHSAA drew lines to create classes, they did so to try to create classes where it was the strength of your athletes and the strength of your program that determined your success, not simply to make scheduling convenient and easy for themselves.

It is very true that we don't live in a perfect world where enrollment numbers will ever match up easily. But here is what I saw in the previous system. I saw a 3A system where the strength of your program mattered more than your enrollment (Just ask Dickinson High). It was a 3A class where Whapeton, whose enrollment was toward the bottom, could make the playoffs three years in a row and play Bismarck Centruy within 7 points in a quartfinal game this year. All-in-all a very competitive league. I saw a cometitive 2A class where schools with bottom enrollment like Watford City and Hazen could comprise 2 of the 4 semi-final teams and having a top shelf enrollment did not garuntee any state championships (just ask Devils Lake and Valley City). I saw a 1A class where a school with bottom enrollment like Harvey could enjoy tremenous success over larger school who didn't have as strong of program.

Now that we are all hopefully looking outside "our little box" lets try to examine what will prove to have been best for North Dakota football. Everyone knows the saying that if it isn't broken, do not fix it. Will disrupting what were four competitive and very internally balanced classes prove to be best for ND football? Will that disruption which will likely create many push-over match ups in every other class but 3A end in the distruction of some of what were once proud football programs end up being best for ND football? Is breaking up Bealuh vs. Hazen and ended the coal bowl in ND footballs best interests? What about the extra travel this creates in AA? Are all of these problems necessicary to create just because it would be so "impossible" to have an odd number of 3A teams?

You are exactly right Steve34. The NDHSAA's new plan is designed to make things 'perfect' for 3A and that plan does have ripple effects. Would a bye week here and there be so horrible? Would it destroy 3A football as we know it? Do those ripple effects that impact the "lower classes" matter to anybody or don't those "lower classes" exist in the proper "little box" to get any consideration?

I wish I had the type of voice that the NDHSAA would hear but I don't. Instead I am left to vent my frustrations and concerns to Steve34 and all other readers here. Does anyone have any answers?
Last edited by NDplayin on Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby gator1o » Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:00 pm

If you ask me I see pros and cons in each and all of the classing systems. Not one of any of the 3 classing systems is going to make every single football fan, team, coaches, players etc. not any one of them is perfect people will be fighting to go down/up in all of them, although i do not agree with the 3 class system and am glad they got rid of it because little schools would play alot bigger schools that have more depth, more athletes to choose from, and an overall better football program. This is the way i see it.

4 class system:(the way it was)
3A-there is going to be small schools in every division. NDplayin makes a good point where he states that Whapeton has competed in the playoffs in the last 3 years with alot larger schools with higher enrollment.

2A- is pretty much good with watford and hazen staying up. standing rock and possibly bowman can move down, they havent really competed with other 2A schools and have the enrollment to move down. Hazen and Watford stay up they consistently compete with all of the other 2A schools if not win a high percentage of their games. Watford for instance took state this year and are moving down. You are going to have good football years and bad football years, but if you consistently have bad years then yes you should opt to move down. There are many reasons that teams should stay up and some should move down it is just my opinion. But look at Devils Lake, a low enrollment for 3A but high for 2A, they beat one of the best teams ryan has had in many years last year, and on to win a state title. They are on of the teams that are inbetween, there is no perfect class for them.

1A- Velva and Harvey have consistently showed that they can compete in single A football and im sure alot of years they could compete in 2A as well, many other teams dont have the strength of these two schools normally do, like i said earlier there will be super powers every year some more consistently then others but you will eventually have a good year.

9-man- dont know much about but there is just teams moving in and out..mostly in problems that i can see not many but i do not follow that class regulary

that is just my thoughts didnt have enough time to put everything i thought into this just what i think....
there is no right answer teams will be stuck in a class that they are really good at..and if they move up they arent competitive those teams will just have to either struggle it up and stay up or kick mucho butt in a lower class and that is not always the case. But St. Mary's and Wapeton and Shanley will be good next year in 2A and im sure all 3 will make playoffs
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby steve34 » Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:53 pm

Seriously, teams don't get moved around because of their competiveness. Your enrollment is your enrollment. Maybe we should move every college DII team that's competitive up to DI, whether they can handle it or not. Come on, there's nothing wrong with the current football system. The Dakota Bowl was an awesome event. You could see the obvious move up in the quality of play in each class. Let the teams go where they go.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby dukefan32 » Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:00 pm

steve34 wrote:I think Lisbon playing Devils Lake is more equitable than Devils Lake playing Minot.

And the three class system of football is a (cough) rediculous idea. You know, to everyone in here, before you spout your spew from your gums, go to a darn game and actually pay attention to something other than the cheerleaders and candied almonds. If you watched the South/Bismarck game, you should totally understand that those teams are capable of so many more things than any 2A team, ANY 2A TEAM, can do. I watched every game this weekend, and I think North Dakota is getting it right in football. There was an obvious step up in each of the classes.

The top 12 schools belong together in everything, period. The state is being held hostage in basketball and volleyball by administrators clinging to the idea that B Shot will magically return to some big glory hayday like they had 30 years ago. We need four in football, and either three in basketball, or a new system of two that expands Class A and separates divisions for the purposes of state tournament qualifying. This crap of three in football and a simple two in basketball has passed it's prime.


How about we keep 3A the way it is, but then combine 2A and 1A together. Yeah sure you could tell the difference between the 2A and 3A game, but there was no difference between the 2A and 1A games. And for three systems in basketball, that would get rid of the biggest moneymaker for the NDHSAA.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby NDplayin » Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:45 pm

steve34 wrote:Seriously, teams don't get moved around because of their competiveness. Your enrollment is your enrollment. Maybe we should move every college DII team that's competitive up to DI, whether they can handle it or not. Come on, there's nothing wrong with the current football system. The Dakota Bowl was an awesome event. You could see the obvious move up in the quality of play in each class. Let the teams go where they go.


We finally agree on something Steve34. Obviously teams don't get moved up and down based on if they are competitive enough, but you restated my point yourself when you said that there WAS nothing wrong with the current system. Why did we change it? The enrollment lines were drawn at places where teams at the bottom of their respective classes still had a fighting chance against the top schools.

To me, the new system seems like it will create an imbalance in the 2A and 1A classes making it very hard for the lower enrollment teams to compete. You said it, "The Dakota Bowl was an awesome event. You could see the obvious move up in the quality of play in each class. Let the teams go where they go." So, why did the NDHSAA decide to move those lines that were working so well? The question isn't about why we are moving one team and not another based on competitiveness, the question is why are we moving any teams at all? Why are we moving that line in the sand?
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby steve34 » Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:14 am

It is not the job of the NDHSAA to create an equitable playing field for every school in North Dakota. The goal is an equal chance to compete, and as soon as the small schools learn that, we'll get some things corrected.

If a small school cannot compete in the new system, find a coop partner and play 11 man. The solution you suggest would be to short every large school a game so some small schools can stave off cooping one more year to be 9 man. As far as I'm concerned, the HSAA should just eliminate 9 man. If everyone had to play 11 man, we'd finally see some progress in the game, instead of "Watford City is too good to play 1A".

I'm not a 3A guy, but I've taken time to actually ask the coaches and ad's in 3A what their concerns are, instead of just assuming that the state should just cater to every 1-room schoolhouse 9 man team. 3A teams deserve 9 games, and, even though I would agree that Belcourt did do the right thing by taking a stand and withdrawing from 3A, that stand shouldn't be paid for by every other 3A school. This ins't basketball. You can't just go find someone else to play that easily.

Someday, I hope the people that post in here understand that the key part of the NDHSAA is "ND". It's not the SSHSAA (Small School High School Activities Association). Small schools all over the state deny thier kids an opportunity to be competitive through co-ops just to maintain their identity as a community. Too many parents live their athletic lives out through their kids. If small schools really approached this from the "it's about the kids" perspective, we'd have a system that works. Thanks for the failure. We appreciate it. You may now go back to living out your broken athletic dreams through your 16 year old.
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Re: 2009-10 football realignment

Postby larrybird33 » Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:18 am

I am not a 3A guy, but I have also "actually taken the time to talk to 3A coaches and administrators." Ask Williston and Dickinson High if they like having to find four nonconference games next year instead of two. The east has many more quality out-of-state opponents to choose from compared to the west. As for in-state opponents, Williston's closest nonconference AAA opponent is Jamestown, followed by the Grand Forks schools. Dickinson's is Jamestown, followed by the Fargo schools. And there's no guarantee that they'll both be able to land Jamestown, since the other AAA west schools might be looking for the closest nonconference opponent as well. Maybe, just maybe, WHS and DHS would prefer a trip to Bismarck St. Mary's over a trip to the Red River Valley.

And the travel aspect trickles down to AA. AA west is a HUGE geographical area now. Do you think Beulah would rather play Devils Lake in a conference game, or keep playing the Coal Bowl with Hazen, 8 miles away?

When you resort to comments like "9 man teams come from one-room schoolhouses" and "you must be a parent trying to live vicariously through your 16 year old child," I am going to take that as a sign that you have lost this argument and you're resorting to cheap shots. I am not a parent, and I'm also not a 16 year old. You will have to find some other way to belittle me and anyone else who happens to think that the NDHSAA has made a mistake.
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