NDHSAA Football Classification Guidelines

The following guidelines are being considered by the NDHSAA Football Committee for the administration of football and management of divisions.  Please send all feedback - positive, negative, or otherwise - to NDHSAA board member Mark Rerick, mrerick230@mygfschools.org, Director of Athletics in Grand Forks.

  1. There will be 4 divisions of football. (AAA, AA, A, 9-Man)

  1. AAA and AA Divisions will consist of Class A schools and any co-op that contains 160 or more male students in grades 7-10 for two or more consecutive years.

  1. A and 9-man Divisions will consist of Class B schools and co-ops which do not exceed 160 male students.

  1. Enrollments for division placement will be determined by the following steps:

Step 1:  Obtain total male enrollments for grades 7 – 10 as provided by the Department of Public Instruction.

Step 2:  Multiply the enrollment created in Step 2 by the percentage of the student body that qualified for free and reduced meals during the previous school year according to Department of Public Instruction data.  That number will be multiplied by 50%.

Step 3:  The number derived in Step 3 is subtracted from the grades 7 – 10 enrollment created in Step 2.  The remainder number will represent the Football Enrollment for classification purposes during the next season.

  1. The dividing line between AAA and AA will be determined by finding the median of Class A Football Enrollments.  If there is an odd number of Class A teams, the median is the football enrollment of the center school; the median team and all larger teams will be placed in the AAA Division.  If there is an even number of Class A teams, the median is the average of the football enrollments of the two center schools divided by two; all teams larger than the median number will be placed in the AAA Division.

  1. The dividing line between A and 9 Man will be determined by finding the median of Class B Football Enrollments.  If there are an odd number of Class B teams, the median is the football enrollment of the center school;  the median team and all larger teams will be placed in the A Division.  If there are an even number of Class B teams, the median is the average of the football enrollments of the two center schools divided by two; all teams larger than the median number will be placed in the A Division.
  1. The maximum number of teams in the 9-man division shall be 40.

  1. Any school may request to move up to any division for the following season. Such requests to opt up shall be made annually by September 15th.

  1. Teams may request to opt down to the next lower division if they meet both items a. and b. below:
  1. The team’s Football Enrollment must be within 25% of the median between divisions.
  2. The team may not have qualified for the playoffs more than once in the previous four seasons.
  3. No team may opt down into Division A.
  4. Such requests to opt down shall be made annually by Sept. 15th.
  5. Opt down requests to the 9-Man division will be denied if the opt-down would result in more than 40 teams in the division.  Opt down requests will be considered in order of Football Enrollment from small to large.

  1. Success Factor
  1. Teams shall earn the following point values for the final level of the playoffs they achieve as follows:
  1. Eliminated in quarterfinal – One (1) point
  2. Eliminated in semifinals – Two (2) points
  3. State Runner-Up – Three (3) points
  4. State Championship – Four (4) points
  1. Division AA and 9-man teams achieving twelve (12) points or greater due to playoff success during a four-year period shall move up to the next largest division for the next two seasons.
  2. After participation in a larger division for two years, a team achieving a two-year total playoff success point value of two points or below shall be eligible to move down.
  3. After participation in a larger division for two years, a team achieving a playoff success point value of three or more points shall remain in the same division for the next two seasons.

  1. At the Class A level (Divisions AAA and AA), each team’s regular season schedule shall include at least 7 intraconference (EDC and WDA) games unless other opponents are mutually agreed upon by representatives of both conferences.

  1. Schools may request to field an independent or 6-man team by officially notifying the NDHSAA Office annually by September 15 of the previous year.

  1. Any school planning to opt up, opt down, or declare an independent status shall confirm their intentions with both divisions in order to better plan future game schedules.

  1. Any varsity team that chooses to play a team that declares independent status after the September 15th deadline will be ineligible for the playoffs.  Any teams that declare independent status after the September 15th deadline shall be responsible for paying game fees to all contracted officials and $1000 to any contracted opponent that loses a varsity game.

  1. BY – LAW REMINDER: Football coops must be submitted by September 15th of the previous year.

  1. A North Dakota school may apply for an emergency coop if the following criteria are met:
  1. An approved coop for the following year must be in place prior to being eligible for an emergency coop
  2. Emergency coop applications will only be considered if the requesting school has provided proof that student-athletes have no opportunity to compete at the varsity level for the upcoming football season
  3. If the emergency coop is approved:
  1.  The host school shall be that school with the largest enrollment.  The NDHSAA Realignment Committee shall determine the new co-op’s Division and Regional alignment.
  2. Only seniors from the applying school would be eligible for varsity competition for a $1000 non-compliance fee per player.
  3. Sub-varsity players from the applying school could compete for a $200 non-compliance fee per player.
  1. Following the implementation of these guidelines for the fall of 2021, NDHSAA staff members will be responsible for researching, receiving opt up and down requests, and placing teams into their applicable Divisions.  The NDHSAA Realignment Committee will be responsible for creating any necessary adjustments to regional assignments within those divisions.

  1. The NDHSAA Board of Directors shall have final say in the administration of these guidelines.

NDHSAA Board of Directors Approved:  January 16, 2020

NDHSAA Football Plan Annual Deadlines

June 1        All requests for football coop dissolutions due

September 15        Deadline for new football cooperative agreements

September 15        Deadline for requests to field an independent or 6-man team

September 15        Deadline for requests to move up a division

September 15        Deadline for requests to opt down a division

September Board Meeting        Board addresses coop applications, opt up/down requests, success factor point totals, and finalizes Division assignments and regional placements for following season

NDHSAA Board of Directors Approved:  January 16, 2020