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3-class proposal vote coming to a head next week

FARGO -- The big vote is just around the corner. The North Dakota High School Activities Association general assembly will decide if it wants a three-class system for basketball and volleyball next Thursday in Bismarck. The plan -- put together b...

FARGO -- The big vote is just around the corner.

The North Dakota High School Activities Association general assembly will decide if it wants a three-class system for basketball and volleyball next Thursday in Bismarck.

The plan -- put together by a handful of administrators from all over the state, but is being pushed hardest by Edgeley Superintendent Rick Diegel and Valley City Superintendent Dean Koppelman -- calls for three divisions in the regular season and two state tournaments.

Four schools from the smallest class in the proposal (Class B) and four from the middle (Class A) would be assured spots at the state tournament. The largest schools in the state (Class AA) would have their own state tourney.

The idea is to give more small schools a chance to get to state.

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Expect several tough questions to be asked at next Thursday's meeting. But, even more, expect some heated back-and-forth.

Every time the three-class issue comes up for debate, some in the NDHSAA membership come out guns-a-blazing.

Some are just resistant to change.

They don't want it and never will.

Many will bring logical, well-formed opinions and theories as to why this plan might not work.

The people will speak.

It might pass. Only time will tell if it is the right move.

But the proposal might be voted down.

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If so, that shouldn't be the end of the discussion.

There appears to be a lot of people in the state who think something needs to change to fix slumping attendance and a lack of parity in Class B basketball and volleyball.

This is a chance, now that the NDHSAA membership is all in the same room, to hash some things out.

If this idea doesn't appeal to you, give some ideas.

Come up with a solution that works.

It won't help to shoot this idea down, say that nothing needs to change and go home.

There will still be a large contingent from small communities who disagree with that sentiment.

A three-class system may never be palatable to the majority of NDHSAA members.

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But the NDHSAA exists to look out for the best interests of all member schools, not just the majority. It's likely that you don't have to pass a three-class system to alleviate some of the concerns of the group that authored this proposal.

Every problem has a solution.

We'll see in a week if the solution to the lingering three-class debate finally comes to the forefront.

Hotzler is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.

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