NDHSA To Set New Basketball Classifications

The North Dakota High School Association (NDHSA) approved an updated draft for a 3rd division of basketball classification, Feb. 8, 2023,

The new classification system will be as follows: Class AA will have a high school enrollment above 650, Class A can have an enrollment of 162.5-649, and Class B will have below 162.5 students. This will be implemented the 2023-2024 school year.

Alexander will remain class B and will now be District 7, and Region 4,” said, A.J. Allard, Alexander high school boys basketball coach and elementary principal. “Our new district will now include District 8 which includes 11 schools from around the Minot area. There is a challenge opportunity at the region tournament to make the state tournament. Each region will now take two teams, instead of one. However, the setup is different from what Montana currently does. Our challenge game will involve challenging a team from another region.”

Alexander is excited to see what the new system brings as a competitive stance. “We look forward to playing some new teams around the region,” said Coach Allard.

Terrille Jacobson, Alexander athletic director and 4th grade teacher, was a member of the NDHSA planning committee. “I was asked last spring to represent northwest North Dakota as well as Class B, on the 3-class system focus group. There were 12 from around the state that got together 2-3 times per month for Zoom meetings. We did 1 in-person meeting last fall. The most challenging aspect of the plan, that was adjusted many times, was the cutoff numbers between the classes. We also had to take into account co-ops that currently existed and we tried to foresee the impact the suggested plan would have on them.” said Jacobson.

Once they established an outlined plan, they were happy with, they needed support from other schools within the state. Each school was asked to submit a letter of support or denial to the focus group by the end of October. “We fortunately got the number of letters we needed to approach NDHSA with our proposal. It then was in their court to decide If their board would vote to implement the 3-class plan.” said Jacobson.

The decision was made to go with the plan (with a few modifications to our original proposal), with next year’s basketball season being the start of this pilot program. “I grew up in Montana, and since our new Class B format now allowed two teams to advance to the state tournament rather than one as we currently do, I pushed for the elimination setup that MHSA uses. After much discussion, we did opt for a challenge game, even though we kept the current North Dakota format of first round, single elimination. One of the modifications NDHSA made was to not have that challenge game involve the 2nd and 3rd place finishers from one region, but to cross-over and challenge those from another region.

It is an interesting concept and I look forward to seeing how it plays out. It was a great experience being on this focus group committee.  I’m excited to see three classes in North Dakota after all these years,” said Jacobson.


Reader Comments(0)