UPDATE: Three-class basketball begins next year in ND

Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 12:28 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The High School Activities Association Board of Directors made a big decision Wednesday. North Dakota will have three classes of basketball beginning next season. It’s not the first time the state will have three classes, but it is the first time since Class C went away in 1963.

The Board voted unanimously to approve the revised proposal, and then by an 8-2 margin the decision to start next season was approved. This has been an ongoing debate in the state for decades, but the tone has softened in recent years and the timing for a change seems right.

“If you said three-class basketball in the early 2000s, it was no way, but in the last 10 years, I think things have really changed and with the additions of West Fargo Horace and Minot North, you know, it created a scheduling issue for the highest division too,” said Tanner Purintun, St. Mary’s athletic director. “So, now that the scheduling issue became a thing, now you get more support from the Double-A schools, well, maybe we do need a three-class system. For a while now, I think you’ve been hearing the cry from the Class B schools, so now I think it’s been kind of the perfect storm and a lot of momentum has been built up, so now here we are.”

The new system has schools with 100-399 kids, located in a city with a “AA” basketball team, playing in Class A. Schools with over 400 kids in a “AA” town will be “AA” as well.

The “AA” line jumps is 650 students, however, St. Mary’s and Fargo Shanley will opt-up.

The schools included in the Class A division will be between 162 and 649 students, with the exceptions listed above, and the Class B cut-off will be less than 162 students.

Here is a breakdown of every team in the state:

Class AA: Minot, West Fargo, West Fargo Sheyenne, Bismarck Legacy, Fargo Davies, Bismarck Century, Grand Forks Central, Williston, Grand Forks Red River, Bismarck, Fargo North, Mandan, Fargo South, Dickinson, West Fargo Horace, Jamestown, Shanley, St. Mary’s, Minot North (2024-25).

Class A: Wahpeton, Devils Lake, Turtle Mountain, Watford City, Valley City, Grafton, New Town, Standing Rock, Central Cass, Four Winds/Minnewaukan, Dunseith, Beulah, Kindred, Hillsboro/Central Valley, Stanley, Heart River, Lisbon, Carrington, Des Lacs-Burlington, Killdeer, Northern Cass, Thompson, Bottineau, Hazen, Oak Grove, Rugby, Shiloh Christian, Wyndmere-Lidgerwood/Hankinson (Girls Only), Nedrose, Dickinson Trinity, South Prairie/Max (Girls only).

Class B: Wyndmere/Lidgerwood (boys), Linton-HMB, Drayton/V-E, New Rockford-Sheyenne, Maple River, Ellendale, Cavalier, Benson Co., Enderlin, Kidder County, North Prairie, Lakota (boys), Hankinson (boys), Napoleon/G-S, North Border, Warwick, Richland, Strasburg/Zeeland, St John, Dakota Prairie (boys), Oakes, South Border, North Star, Larimore, Tri-State, M-P-B, Langdon-E-M, Griggs/Midkota, Barnes County North, LaMoure/L-M, Park River-FL, May-Port-CG, Sargent County, Edgeley/Kulm/M, Midway/Minto, Hatton/Northwood, Hettinger-Scranton, Mandaree, Divide County, Glenburn, New England, New Salem-Almont, Parshall/NSP, Drake-Anamoose, Beach, Garrison, Trinity Christian, Velva, Solen, Wilton/Wing, Trenton, Our Redeemers, Grant Co./Mott-Regent, Center-Stanton, Alexander, Mohall-L-S, Richardton-Taylor, Washburn, Tioga, L&C-Berthold, Glen Ullin-Hebron, Central McLean, Ray, Westhope/Newburg, Flasher, Max (boys), Kenmare/Bowbells, TGU, Bowman County, White Shield, Powers Lake-Burke Co., Harvey/Wells Co., South Prairie (boys), L&C-North Shore (girls), Bishop Ryan, Surrey.

The first state tournament schedule in 2024 looks like this:

Feb. 29 – March 2: Class A Girls in Minot and Class B Girls in Jamestown.

March 7 – 9: Class AA Boys & Girls in Bismarck.

March 14 – 16: Class A Boys in Fargo and Class B Boys in Minot.

Full release: More information from the NDHSAA

Previous coverage: Three-class North Dakota basketball proposal revised

Three-class basketball system breakdown
Three-class basketball system breakdown(KFYR)