Some changes that will be obvious to high school sports fans got the green light from the state’s prep sports governing body on Tuesday.
Meeting at Valley City, the North Dakota High School Activities Association’s board of directors made substantive changes in basketball, volleyball and hockey.
Class B Basketball is in for the most thorough shakeup. The girls basketball season will start ahead of the boys in 2014-15. Board members approved the flip-flop of seasons by an 8-1 vote.
For the last three seasons the boys have gotten out of the chute first, making the Class B girls tournament the final event on the NDHSAA’s basketball calendar.
That change has resulted in a dip in revenues for the Class B boys tournament, the NDHSAA’s top money-making event.
In March, the Class B district chairmen voted 12-4 for a return to the girls-first format that had been in place since girls basketball was moved to the winter in 2003.
Tuesday’s change puts Bismarck back on the map for the state Class B boys basketball tournament. The Civic Center has played host to the B boys state tournament 19 times, the last in 2007.
Jim Haussler, the Bismarck Public Schools athletic director, said Bismarck was scheduled to host the state B boys tourney in 2011 and 2012.
“We were scheduled for the B boys two years ago, but when they flipped the seasons we lost that,” Haussler said.
Haussler said the switch of seasons puts Bismarck in position to host the B boys tournament, depending on what the NDHSAA plans to do.
“We’re willing to run the boys or girls (tournaments). If we get the boys, great. If we get the girls, great,” he said. “... We’d be excited to have the B boys again, but we’re excited to have any activities association events in our community.”
Haussler said the switch of seasons could bring the B boys to Bismarck before the current basketball tourney rotation plan expires.
“The last time they switched seasons, the B boys went where the B girls were scheduled and vice versa,” he said. “If we’re scheduled for the B girls, they might do some changing and we might wind up with the B boys.”
The NDHSAA has a proposed schedule of tournament assignments through the 2012 school year. Bismarck is scheduled for the B girls tournament in 2015 and 2020.
The last three years the B boys state tournament has conflicted with the Class A West Region tournament, which is played at the Civic Center.
In another move affecting Class B basketball, the NDHSAA board by a 5-4 vote approved seeding the state Class B basketball tournaments. The means of implementing the seeding procedure was not established. That will be determined at the board’s Aug. 14 meeting and will go into effect immediately.
Seeding was also approved for the Class B volleyball tournament.
Class A basketball teams have a change of seasons in store, as well. The board approved a 21-game regular season for both the Class A boys and girls basketball. The limit has been 19 games for many seasons.
The 21-game format goes into effect for the 2014-15 season.
Hockey also drew the board’s attention. Beginning with the coming season, the board approved use of video replays for the state hockey tournament.
Both the Grand Forks and Fargo sites for the state hockey tournament are already equipped for goal replays.