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'Six man football,' realigning high school basketball tiers, subjects of a House resolution

Are you ready for some….six man football?

That’s one of the aims of a resolution now before a North Dakota House Committee. It asks the North Dakota State High School Activities Association to create a third tier for boys’ and girls’ basketball, renaming the tiers AAA , AA and A. It also suggests allowing six-man football for smaller schools.

"It's just a suggestion to them (the NDHSAA) that we need to expand our classifications and our sports to make it more fair for the kids, with less travel," said the resolution's author, Rep. Mike Schatz (R-New England). He said it urges the Association to look at those ideas.

Schatz said he thought six-man football teams could rekindle some rivalries that used to exist before some schools started losing enrollments, and had to co-op with other schools to field a 9 or 11 man football team. He sais when he started looking at the idea, he did some research -- and looked at Montana's six-man league.

"I went to You Tube," Schatz said. "And I looked up 'Montana 6-Man Football.' I watched a game, and I was hooked on it right away."

Schatz said in a six-man game, there is a quarterback and three wide receivers -- and the teams play on a smaller field.

"I thought, 'Oh boy, would that be fun," Schatz said.

However, the NDHSAA said it has already authorized six- man football, starting this fall.

"We have three teams this year in North Dakota," said NDHSAA Executive Director Matthew Fetsch. "Our assumption is that over the years, that number will continue to grow."

Fetsch said decisions on tiers, sports and competition is best left in the hands of the NDHSAA.

"We have a board made up of elected officials that represent member schools," Fetsch said. "That's why they're there -- to make those decisions."

The House Education Committee is looking at the resolution.