Following a pending lawsuit, the South Dakota High School Activities Association called a special meeting and has voted to allow males to participate in competitive dance.

The SDHSAA Board of Directors met and voted on Tuesday (May 8) to allow males to participate in the upcoming 2018-19 competitive dance season. The SDHSAA approved the measure 7-0.

This stems off a lawsuit by a Dakota Valley freshman Freddie Linden who wanted to participate in competitive dance this past season but was denied due to his gender. Competitive dance has been a female only sport since it was sanctioned into the SDHSAA in the fall of 2007.

The narrative from many is that the SDHSAA didn't want males to participate in competitive dance. That isn't true, and the ruling proves that with the 7-0 vote. Special exemptions have been made before in football and wrestling, however each case has to go through the specific channels of the SDHSAA to be approved. There were other factors that had to be considered also including the amount of male only sports vs. female only sports that are offered.

In a press release, the SDHSAA says that the ruling is "to suspend the restriction of requirement that only females may compete in competitive dance for the 2018-19 school year, allow boys and girls to participate alongside one another in competitive dance, and direct the Dance Advisory committee to study the issue during the intervening year and recommend language specific to the issue that must ultimately be considered and approved by the membership and Board of Directors.”

To help break that down, the executive order grants the right for males to participate in the upcoming 2018-19 season. Following the season, the advisory committee will make their recommendations on rule changes/recommendations. Those will be sent to school's activities directors for their votes, and then handed to the SDHSAA Board of Directors. This is the standard process for all sports.

Competitive dance runs from August through October with the upcoming 2018-19 state tournament scheduled to take place at Brandon Valley High School.

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