Activities Directors from across South Dakota gathered to vote on recommended changes to high school sports.

The annual SDIAAA Conference took place in March and the results from the voting have been announced. Every sanctioned sport has an advisory committee that recommends changes. Those that pass the advisory committee advance to the activities directors. Motions that pass through the AD's then go to the SDHSAA Board of Directors.

Among the hottest debated topics surround basketball and football. This year doesn't feature a lot of major changes to basketball, outside of a switch of the calendar, but football will be sure to drive multiple conversations across the state. Below is a list of the most discussed topics.


  • Begin girl's season one week earlier (December 4, 2020) due to the removal of the combined state basketball tournaments. (Yes 108, No 31).
  • Begin boy's season one day earlier (December 10, 2020). (Yes 121, No 18)
  • SoDak16 games for Class A and B continue to be at a neutral site, but the location will be closer to the higher seed. (Yes 63, No 48...Class A 31-14 Yes, Class B 33-31 No)
  • Mercy rule implemented for Class AA vs. A/B games. Teams determine whether to use it by the start of the contest. (Yes 121, No 18)

All basketball recommendations have been pushed forward to the SDHSAA Board of Directors meetings.


  • Adopt a five-class system beginning in 2021. 11AA to feature the state's nine largest schools and O'Gorman (nine-game season, eight-team playoff). 11A would then have the 16 next biggest schools (nine-game season, eight-team playoff). 11B would take the remaining 11-man schools (eight-game season, 16-team playoff). 9A and 9B would split teams evenly and both classes would play eight-game schedule and 16-team playoff. (Yes 58, No 77...11AAA 7-3 Yes, 11AA 6-2 Yes, 11A 7-7 Split, 11B 8-12 No, 9AA 6-12 No, 9A 6-10 No, 9B 6-14 No)
  • Implement the mercy rule for Class 11AAA and 11AA. Running-clock rule for contests among AAA/AA opponents, such that any game where the lead is 35 points or greater after halftime, a running clock would be used for the remainder of the game, including the postseason. (Yes 41, No 1)

The SDHSAA staff has recommended that all football recommendations get pushed to the Board of Directors. This includes the majority "No" vote for the five-class system. The reason for that is the SDHSAA believes that some form of action needs to take place with the shifting population landscape and other dynamics including scheduling and postseason play starting with the 2021 season.

To see the entire full list of what is being sent to the SDHSAA Board of Directors, including all of the other sports, click here.

These topics will move forward to a first reading and discussion by the Board of Directors in April. Those that pass that meeting will then see a second and final reading by the Board of Directors in June.

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