School officials, board can’t reach consensus on Class B tourney format

By Dana Hess, for the South Dakota Newspaper Association

PIERRE — Without a consensus from member schools, the South Dakota High School Activities Association board didn’t take action on a change in the postseason format for Class B basketball and volleyball at its meeting Thursday.
There has been concern in the past that good teams are left out of the state tournament when a district or region may have two powerful teams. At some point in the districts or regionals, one of the best teams in the state may lose and be left out of the state tournament while other, less talented teams make it through weaker regions.
State school superintendents were asked to offer their opinions on three options.
One format considered would divide the state into 12 districts resulting in six state qualifiers. The four highest seeded teams that didn’t qualify for the tournament would be seeded one through four, with one playing four and two playing three. The two winners would advance to the state tournament.
A second option was using Class A’s new “sweet 16” format. A third option was to leave the system alone. Currently teams for the state tournament are chosen through a district/region format.
When asked, 32 Class B superintendents preferred no changes, 28 wanted the sweet 16 and 14 favored the district/region format with play-in winners.
“It appears there’s no consensus on change,” said board member Roger Bordeaux of Tiospa Zina.
“They want change,” said board member Bud Postma of Madison, “they just don’t know what that change is.”
If the board refuses to take action, according to board member Sandy Klatt of Brandon Valley, “the level of frustration is just going to continue.”
Board member Dave Planteen of Langford didn’t like the first option. “If you lose, you shouldn’t be able to continue,” Planteen said.
Board member Steve Morford of Spearfish tried to clarify the philosophy governing the state tournament system. He said the goal is not to get the best eight teams in the tournament but rather to crown a state champion.
When discussion ended, there was no motion made to make a change. The Class B tournament format for basketball and volleyball will remain as is.

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