High school football schedules won’t be changed

The 2022 foootball season begins Aug. 19 when Lead-Deadwood will host Rapid City Christian, and Newell will host Potter County. Spearfish, Belle Fourche, and Sturgis Brown start their season on Aug. 26. Pioneer file photo

PIERRE — Despite complaints from small schools about their 2023 football schedules, on Thursday, June 9, the South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors voted unanimously to keep the schedules just the way they are.

At its April meeting, the board heard some complaints from schools that have nine-man football teams and from the 11B schools that football schedules for 2022 and 2023 were not to their liking. The schedules for some schools did not include conference games or games within their classification.

SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director Randy Soma, in his first year of creating the schedules, said his priority was ensuring that each school had a schedule of games.

It was determined by the board that it was too late to change the 2022 schedules. At the April meeting, Soma was directed to poll schools about whether or not they wanted to change their 2023 football schedules.

All nine 11AAA and all 10 11AA schools wanted to keep their 2023 schedules. Three of the 14 11A schools wanted their schedules changed. At the 11B level, the vote was 15-10 in favor of keeping the schedules. The 9AA vote was 9-5, the 9A vote was 10-7 and the 9B vote was 6-11.

Changing the schedule for just the 9B teams wouldn’t be an option, Soma said, because many of them also play 9AA and 9A schools.

Soma noted that some schools filled out the survey three times, with votes coming in from the superintendent, the activities director and the football coach. Sometimes they disagreed on how to vote. When that happened, Soma said, he went with the superintendent’s vote.

In 11B and the three nine-man classes, some schools failed to fill out Soma’s survey.

“That what’s disappointing to me,” said board chairman Tom Culver of Avon. “If you’re going to complain, take the time to vote.”

According to SDHSAA Executive Director Dan Swartos, making the football schedule calls for scheduling 800 games throughout seven classes. He told the board that the staff has been made aware of a computer program that may help with the schedules.

“I think the process will continue to get better,” Soma said.

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