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Class A will move to a two-year classification cycle for all sports beginning in the 2020-21 school year.

The Nebraska School Activities Association Board of Directors unanimously passed that change Thursday in its May meeting in Lincoln. Last month the board approved a measure effective for the upcoming 2019-20 school calendar that schools with a total enrollment of 850 or larger will be in the state’s largest class in all sports except for football.

In football, Class A is comprised of schools with boys enrollments of 425 or more.

The other five classes will continue to reclassify on a yearly basis in all sports except for football. Football is in the middle of its current two-year cycle, which means the rest of the sports in Class A will now be on the same cycle as football.

The board heard from a North Platte group led by superintendent Ron Hanson and incoming athletic director Jordan Cudney that asked for a two-year waiver that would allow the Bulldogs to compete in Class B. They cited the three-hour drive to Lincoln and four-hour drive to Omaha to compete against other Class A schools and the class time their student-athletes miss to make those trips as the main reasons for their request.

North Platte’s enrollment number for next year is 905, well above the 850 cutoff and larger than Lincoln Pius X (897) and South Sioux City (860), which will also be Class A across the board beginning in August.

Without discussion, the board did not act on North Platte’s request.

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In other action, the board unveiled two class caucus proposals that were ratified by the schools. One mirrored the approved ruling passed by the board in April that will give Class C-1 through D-2 boys basketball teams the option to play their district final games on either Saturday (Feb. 29 in the 2019-20 season), Monday (March 2) or Tuesday (March 3), with one exception.

In April, the board stripped language out of the proposal that only district finals involving schools 125 miles or closer to each other could play on Monday or Tuesday. The measure that made it through the class caucus for the schools to vote on had the 125-mile limit in it since it was sent out before April’s board meeting.

Even though supporters of the proposal favored what the board did in April, NSAA counsel Rex Schultze told the board Thursday that the class caucus proposal takes precedent over last month’s approved ruling, and that it’s something they can amend next year.

This past season in the first year of the substate format (12 subdistrict winners and four wild cards advancing to a 16-team field seeded by wild card points) for C and D basketball; all of those district finals were supposed to be played on Saturday, Feb. 23 at neutral sites agreed upon by the schools involved, just two days after the subdistrict finals. A blizzard that weekend, however, caused all of those games to be postponed to Feb. 25.

Coaches were concerned already before the season about the short two-day turnaround between the subdistrict and district final.

The other class caucus measure to pass allows the seven Class A soccer districts to be played Saturday through Wednesday (May 2-6 in 2020) or Saturday through Thursday.

This was also the final board meeting for District 5 representative Alan Garey of Medicine Valley, who is stepping down. He will be replaced by Dundy County-Stratton superintendent Jim Kent.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7437 or rpowell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @ronpowell_ljs.


Sports reporter

Ron Powell is a longtime prep writer for the Journal Star. He covers high school football, boys basketball and track as well as state college football and Husker and professional tennis.

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