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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Preps: South Dakota ADs vote against changes

Associated Press Writer

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. South Dakota prep athletic directors have voted against adding a 35-second shot clock in high school basketball and rewriting the playoff formula to seed basketball and volleyball teams based on strength of schedule.

The changes, rejected by the South Dakota Interscholastic Athletics Administrators Association at a meeting this month, would have applied to Class B and Class A teams. The Class AA large-school division already uses a shot clock in basketball and a seeded playoff format.

The proposed seeding change in substate Class A and B basketball and volleyball tournaments would increase the likelihood that the best eight teams advance to the state tournament, said Eric Denning, the activities director and boys basketball coach at Mt. Vernon High School.

Schools are now grouped in a geographic region. On occasion, two or three of the state's top-rated teams are in the same region and vying for a single tournament berth.

"I don't think it's really fair that some of the best teams in the state these kids that have put in the time and worked hard get eliminated because another team of their caliber is located in the same region," Denning said.

His proposal would use seeding and cross-bracketing between eight districts to reduce the field to 16 teams statewide. Those teams would again be seeded and play at neutral sites to determine the eight state tournament entrants.

"We've already done away with that type of stuff in football teams can play outside their region," he said. "In track there are qualifying standards to get the best athlete to the state meet and in wrestling we take the top four. In basketball and volleyball I think we need to seriously look at change, too."

Results of the SDIAAA straw ballot on a host of proposals from advisory committees go to the South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors as a nonbinding recommendation.

The SDIAAA also resisted a move to shift from four quarters of basketball to 16-minute or 18-minute halves in all three classes.

The athletic directors voted against giving first-round byes to the top two or top four teams in 11AA football.

They recommended changing a rule that allows 7th- and 8th-graders who run 3,200 meters to enter only one other long-distance running event at track meets. The better long-distance runners among girls often are 7th-, 8th- and 9th-graders, said Earvin Gebhart, athletic director and track and cross country coach at Elkton-Lake Benton High School.

"They didn't want to hurt the girls as far as sticking them in the two-mile relay, the open mile and the open two mile," Gebhart said of the existing rule. "But I think most of your coaches are not going to overdo them."