Realignment talk: Here we go

The teams in Class AA.

Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby steve34 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:47 pm

Interesting reading:

New Football Plan Reunites Jamestown, Valley City
By Ryan Cunningham NewsDakota.com

October 20

Valley City--A new football realignment idea being circulated by Devils Lake High School would reunite Valley City and Jamestown in the same class and region.

It would also make an already improved AA football class even tougher.

The plan calls for the number of teams in the AAA class to be reduced again to 10 teams. This year, the class was chopped from 16 to 12, forcing four schools down to the AA class.

With Fargo Davies moving into the AAA division, three current teams at that level would move down. Those three would be Jamestown, Dickinson, and Williston. The Blue Jays would be placed in Region I (eastern division), where the Hi-Liners have called home since the sport when to four classes.

Devils Lake would remain in Region II (western division) of AA football, which is the goal of the plan. Under the current plan, when Davies High School is added to AAA, one team will have to move up from AA to make a 14 team class. Devils Lake would likely be that team.

The eastern division would be comprised of Valley City, Jamestown, Grafton, Central Cass, Wahpeton, Fargo Shanley, Fargo Oak Grove, and Carrington. The west would have Devils Lake, Dickinson, Williston, Belcourt, Bottineau, Minot Ryan, Williston, and Beulah.

Lisbon, Kindred, and Dickinson Trinity would move to the A level. Harvey, Velva, and Stanley would move to 9-man, a move that Harvey could have made with the current plan. Head coach Brad Sandy has said Harvey would likely choose to play at the A level for the forseeable future.

Realignment is just beginning it's process, with those involved organizing their materials, according to Devils Lake High School officials. The plans would not take effect until 2011-12.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby Bisonguy06 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:58 pm

My first thought is that a 10 team division at the top is quite small. 12 or 14 seems preferable. I think this topic will catch fire and generate a lot of debate.

I have a few questions for starters:
1) I was under the impression that Belcourt (TMCHS) is bigger than Devils Lake and would be the bubble team. Is that incorrect?
2) What about opting up? Wouldn't Shanley, St. Mary's, or Wahpeton opt up to AAA if given the opportunity?
3) If Devils Lake becomes the 14th team, is that such a bad thing?

I'd also want to know what these schools think of the plan:

Dickinson, Williston, and Jamestown - These schools and towns have always competed in the top division in every sport as long as I can remember. Would they want to move down? Would they be insulted by this? Would they want to opt up? Would they be given a choice?

Minot Ryan, Fargo Oak Grove, and Carrington - These would become some of the smallest AA schools. Dickinson, Williston and Jamestown are roughly 4x as big as these schools. The number of seniors at DHS, WHS, or Jamestown is about the same as the size of the ENTIRE STUDENT BODY 9-12 at Ryan, Carrington, and Oak Grove. Are they ok with this? Is this fair?

Velva, Harvey, and Stanley - these schools have been 11-man 'A' powerhouses. Do they want to move down? Will they have a choice to opt up, as they do now?
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby steve34 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:53 pm

Shanley will not opt up. If they did, there would be no bubble team for a 14 team division anyway. They like AA after playing it for a year, which is why it's necessary for Devils Lake to formulate a plan.

If they went to a 10 team top division, it might be small, but it fixes some problems. It would clear up scheduling problems. Currently, Fargo North cannot fill their schedule for 10-11. They are short two games. With a 10 team top class, the schedule is filled every year, a problem for AAA schools.

As for Minot Ryan, Carrington, etc. being the smallest teams, no one sympathizes with Valley City by far being the smallest A basketball school. I don't see a difference. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. You can't be all about VC being A in basketball and then protect someone from being the smallest AA football school.

TMCHS has some sort of formula that allows them to have a lower enrollment than Devils Lake. Not sure what it is, but it has to do with free-and-reduced meals.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby baseball18 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:21 pm

Dickinson, Jamestown and Williston would kill the majority of the AA schools on most years... what about SMCHS? Theyre not in this proposal... 10 teams is not adequate for AAA... this proposal will be shot down immediately.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby Bisonguy06 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:23 pm

steve34 wrote:Shanley will not opt up. If they did, there would be no bubble team for a 14 team division anyway. They like AA after playing it for a year, which is why it's necessary for Devils Lake to formulate a plan.

If they went to a 10 team top division, it might be small, but it fixes some problems. It would clear up scheduling problems. Currently, Fargo North cannot fill their schedule for 10-11. They are short two games. With a 10 team top class, the schedule is filled every year, a problem for AAA schools.

As for Minot Ryan, Carrington, etc. being the smallest teams, no one sympathizes with Valley City by far being the smallest A basketball school. I don't see a difference. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. You can't be all about VC being A in basketball and then protect someone from being the smallest AA football school.

TMCHS has some sort of formula that allows them to have a lower enrollment than Devils Lake. Not sure what it is, but it has to do with free-and-reduced meals.


Steve, my thought was if Shanley opted up (or Wahpeton, or St. Mary's), that would solve Devils Lake's 'problem.' There has been some chatter on the board about St. Mary's preferring AAA. I guess I thought one of those three schools would opt if given the option, keeping Devils Lake in AA (where I assume they want to be).

Your thoughts on Dickinson, Williston, and Jamestown? Any idea whether they would like this idea or not?

I guess, in addition to that, I'd also point out:
Reducing AAA from 16 to 12 teams caused Fargo North's scheduling problem in the first place.

and

by the same logic you used above, no one should have any sympathy for Devils Lake if they end up being the smallest AAA team.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby steve34 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:16 pm

I don't think we should, but the 10 team class has some merit. I agree, it will be shot down, but it's worth discussing. Shanley will not opt up at all, period. They just don't care what level they are playing at anymore. I talked to a few of them, and they all say they like playing new teams......and winning.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby Run4Fun2009 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:19 pm

steve34 wrote:I don't think we should, but the 10 team class has some merit. I agree, it will be shot down, but it's worth discussing. Shanley will not opt up at all, period. They just don't care what level they are playing at anymore. I talked to a few of them, and they all say they like playing new teams......and winning.


Why would Shanley go up and get ROCKED by the likes of Bismarck, South, West Fargo, etc when they could be the team rocking and dominating schools like OG, Kindred, VC, Grafton, etc!!
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby NDplayin » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:32 pm

I don’t like this proposal at all. I think this is a classic example of one school proposing only what is best for that school and ignoring what is best for football in the state of North Dakota.

Here's a concept I think we should start to embrace: The top 12 enrolment schools (13 with the addition of Davies) in North Dakota all look like each other. They all offer essentially the same activities. They all have the extra activities that we don't typically see in a lot of schools, like swimming and diving, gymnastics, orchestra, soccer, and debate. They are a perfect class with each other. Breaking up that nice group just because Devils Lake is too scared to play AAA would be a travesty. If Williston, Dickinson, and Jamestown didn’t think they belonged in AAA this proposal would have come from them instead of Devils Lake.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby steve34 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:42 pm

Yeah, they really ROCKED their competition this season. Shanley played a 10 point game with VC and a close game with Central Cass. They had a good year, they didn't dominate the competition. Watch a game before you vent your spew.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby Run4Fun2009 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:44 pm

steve34 wrote:Yeah, they really ROCKED their competition this season. Shanley played a 10 point game with VC and a close game with Central Cass. They had a good year, they didn't dominate the competition. Watch a game before you vent your spew.


They rocked OG, Grafton, Kindred (only close cause the freshmen played the whole 4th quarter against kindred's starters)...so no they didn't rock all their competition but they did handle their business
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby Bisonguy06 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:07 pm

There's no need for this to get heated, guys... it's an interesting plan to discuss. I just think that Jamestown, Williston, and Dickinson see themselves as top level schools and will want to play in the highest division. Would just one of them want to drop down? If so, Davies could replace them, and AAA could remain a 12 team league. That would work best if Jamestown dropped, because they are currently in the east.

I also agree that it is going to be tough for Devils Lake to sell the idea that this is good for everybody, not just themselves.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby sportsfan33 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:30 pm

steve34 wrote:Shanley will not opt up. If they did, there would be no bubble team for a 14 team division anyway. They like AA after playing it for a year, which is why it's necessary for Devils Lake to formulate a plan.

If they went to a 10 team top division, it might be small, but it fixes some problems. It would clear up scheduling problems. Currently, Fargo North cannot fill their schedule for 10-11. They are short two games. With a 10 team top class, the schedule is filled every year, a problem for AAA schools.

As for Minot Ryan, Carrington, etc. being the smallest teams, no one sympathizes with Valley City by far being the smallest A basketball school. I don't see a difference. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. You can't be all about VC being A in basketball and then protect someone from being the smallest AA football school.

TMCHS has some sort of formula that allows them to have a lower enrollment than Devils Lake. Not sure what it is, but it has to do with free-and-reduced meals.


Football requires more people and athletes to play then basketball does.. basketball u need 10 or 11 tops u need more then that for a decent football team to compete wit competition
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby steve34 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:12 am

That's not the point. If you're going to have classes, you can't play favorites with who is the smallest. Deal with it.

BTW, the question about Belcourt: According to the ndhsaa website, the traditionally native american schools have their enrollment taken times 60% to find out what class they end up in. Because of that, Devils Lake is technically bigger than Belcourt.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby gator1o » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:37 am

You know Belcourt is going to have a harder time getting kids out for the football team, thats just the way it is.
Devils Lake's sideline is huuuge compared to any other west division team they play.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby football101 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:05 am

I'm going to says something that might upset some people but I don't care. What percent of Devils Lake School system is made up of Native Americans. My guess is 25-30%. That means that every sports team they have should be made up of 25-30% Native Americans, they are not. Is it fair for DL to be playing AA, probably not. Is it fair to have DL playing South, Bismarck HIgh, and Minot, probably not. Devils Lake will produce a team that con compete in AAA once every 10-15 years. Dl moved the EDC in about 1993. How many football teams were above .500 during that time. If I'm correct, the answer is 2. Rollers senior year and the year after. Yes, I know they made the playoff in AAA a few years ago but they ended the season with a losing record. Before moving to the EDC, DL played in the North Star:Valley City, Grafton, Turtle Mountain, Bottineau, Rugby, and Ryan. I believe Harvey and Carrington also played in the North Start at one time. These are the teams they are playing now. The problem is Devils Lake is not a big school or a small school. I love it when people say DL is three time bigger than so and so. Those people have to realize that its the same thing for DL when they were playing in the EDC. I don't care what the numbers say, DL has about 120 kids per class. High school about 480, boys-240. 70% of the AAA schools have close that in their senior classes. DL has proven that they cannot compete in AAA. In AA, they will have success but they will not be a dominating team. DL is good this year, next year they will be down.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby Bisonguy06 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:02 am

I think your numbers are off just a bit (the NDHSAA football plan lists male enrollment around 300 for Devils Lake, so the student body must be close to 600.)

You make a lot of good points though. I understand, DLHS would be the smallest AAA school by quite a margin, and they are a big school for AA. The size of their school and town is unique in North Dakota. It's tough to figure out what to do with them.

I agree that they'd struggle in AAA and would not dominate AA. I just don't think that the solution is shrinking AAA to ten teams and bumping Jamestown, Williston, and Dickinson down.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby Deuce » Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:13 am

If they shrink it to 10 they may as well go to 1 region. Because 2 regions gives you 5 teams in each region and you end up with 5 non region games against the other region anyways. You may as well have 1 region, play everyone and then have a playoff between the top 4-6 teams. With Williston and Dickinson out of the picture the travel distance between east and west greatly diminishes. Until Bismarck, Minot and West Fargo build another school there's always going to be really big enrollment AAA schools playing a lot smaller AAA enrollment schools.
Last edited by Deuce on Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby Bisonguy06 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:57 am

Yes, it would be just one region. Each of the 10 AAA schools would play the other nine schools one time. From that aspect, it works out quite well, except that you'd have zero nonconference games to work out the kinks.

The longest road trips would be Grand Forks to Bismarck and Minot to Fargo.

I think the plan has eight of the ten teams making the playoffs...
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby ndlionsfan » Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:11 pm

I don't like the idea of 10 teams in 3A. I think the current 12 all belong in the same class. Dickinson, WIlliston, and Jamestown are all too big for 2A. Plus I think all 3 are growing (Williston especially) which would even screw things up more in future years. If West Fargo, Minot, and Bismarck each added another high school (which I know all could) that would give 16 in 3A with the addition of Davies. I know that this is even more of a long shot than having 10 teams in 3A, but it would be nice if the entire state would look toward the future with a progressive attitude rather than a dismal one.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby Bisonguy06 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:41 pm

Agreed. West Fargo and Bismarck are certainly growing, and an additional high school will have to be in their long-term plans.

I can't speak for Jamestown, but Williston and Dickinson are holding steady at the very least, if not growing. Dickinson is planning additions to two of their existing elementary schools.

And if you split Fargo one more time (and eventually, West Fargo and Bismarck), they won't be as dominant.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby steve34 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:27 pm

The more I think about it, the more I like this plan. The points posted here about splitting schools around the state actually support this plan, not shoot it down. Let the AAA class be 10 teams. As West Fargo and Bismarck add new schools, let the class grow. When Fargo splits again, let it grow again. In the end, let the AAA class fill to 14 or 16 naturally, instead of inflating it with some teams that may not belong, like Devils Lake or Belcourt.

The proposed AA class under this plan would be very competitive. If Central Cass can test Wahpeton, and Carrington can test Devils Lake, Jamestown at AA won't hurt anything. Devils Lake has a good team this year, and Carrington's team is average at best, yet they played a 6-0 game last night. Jamestown doesn't scare Carrington, and that would be about the biggest to smallest non-private matchup in the new system.

Scheduling isn't an issue for AAA anymore. Let some of the new 9-man teams opt up, and this plan is workable. Maybe the long-term solution we're looking for.

It's growing on me.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby Bisonguy06 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:01 pm

All that is true... however, you could go the other way and say that Jamestown beat GF Central and tested GF Red River and Fargo North... Dickinson beat Mandan and tested Minot and Fargo South... therefore, what's wrong with our 12 team class, and why would we bump them down?

And heck... Fargo Shanley tested Grand Forks Red River, and Wahpeton could certainly hold its own in AAA this year. Devils Lake would be competitive this year in AAA, too.

We certainly have more than 10 teams that can compete at the AAA level, so I don't see the need to shrink to 10, especially if the long-term goal is to get to 14 or 16 anyway.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby steve34 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:50 pm

BisonGuy, please try to understand the issue. It's not a 12 team problem. The plan is to increase to 14, and that has problems. Even if you're going to keep the class at 12, you have to move someone down, as Davies enters the mix. So Williston goes down. And you still can't fill schedules with 12 teams. Half the season is non-conference games. It doesn't work with 12 period.

14 is a stretch. You artifically inflate the class with a legitimate AA team moving to AAA, and scheduling is still an issue.

With 10, scheduling is not an issue, the class isn't artifically inflated, and there is room for natural growth.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby Bisonguy06 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:23 pm

12 is a good number. At least, that's what the NDHSAA decided just one year ago. 12 was THE number. Not 13, not 14, not 15, not 16, not 12 with opt-ups. A rigid 12 team AAA. One year later, 12 is no good?

How about this: Keep AAA at 12. Add Davies, bump Williston down, move Jamestown back to the west (where they currently are in every other sport.)

The conflict with scheduling is that we have some AAA schools that go out of state for nonconference and others that do not, leaving a team like Fargo North with no one to play.

How about sticking with 12 and adding this rule - AAA schools must fill their nonconference schedule with other North Dakota teams. The first four games of the year are 3A east vs. west. Each team gets two home games and two road games. There's nothing wrong with 12 if you do it that way.
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Re: Realignment talk: Here we go

Postby NorthDakota11 » Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:53 am

"With 10, scheduling is not an issue, the class isn't artifically inflated, and there is room for natural growth"

Room for Natural growth? So what happens when Central Cass (bedroom community for Fargo) in 5-10 years gets to the magic number of students to be in AAA? Is the NDSHAA going to re-write everything again to insure that they can stay in AA and be "competitive" (Which now a days to some people means winning almost every game at a level they don't belong see Devils Lake, Waph).

Dickinson High had 150 new kids in their school system at registration this year... it doesn't sound like they are getting any smaller? (this of course could change as oil production does) and I don't think they want ANYTHING to do with moving down.

Here's an idea, Take the current AAA and the Top 1/3 of AA and make it "Class A"... Then take the bottom 2/3 of AA and merge it with A for a "class B"... and 9-man would stay the same...

As "natural growth" takes place in Bismarck and West Fargo the smaller schools will "naturally" become more competitive with the bigger school districts due to kids not being saturated in one school like is the case with Bismarck High, Fargo South, West Fargo, and Minot...

People will say that the smaller schools will never be able to compete, thats not true... Trinity is 8-0 in a division they have opted up into for years now... Watford City and Hazen would be two of the better teams in the West AA this year and there are many other A teams that could play in AA... Waph made the playoffs in AAA last year and Shanley, and St. Mary's would at times give teams fits... In fact Shanley was on their way to becoming VERY competitive before Feeney left... So small schools can "compete" just not for a state title every year...
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