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State high school activities board approves sanctioning of softball

On Wednesday, the Board of Directors for the South Dakota High School Activities Association approved a proposal on an 8-1 vote to sanction high school varsity softball in the state of South Dakota.

“I’ve been waiting for this forever. We’re the last state in the nation to sanction softball, and that’s embarrassing, that’s embarrassing for our state, and it’s embarrassing that we’re not giving our girls an opportunity to play softball,” stated SDHSAA assistant executive director Jo Auch. “So, I’m excited about the opportunity and I’m excited about our board that said we’re moving forward with it.”

The inaugural season of sanctioned high school softball in South Dakota will take place a year from now during the 2022-23 school year. And currently, there’s some debate on if softball should be a fall or a spring sport. The initial proposal was for softball to be sanctioned and for it to take place in the spring, starting two weeks after girls’ basketball season and going to the first weekend in June. But some of the larger member schools thought a fall season would be better.

“We heard from some of our ‘AA’ schools that they really didn’t believe spring was the best time to play, so it forced us to have another discussion, and there’s quite a discussion on “should we have a spring season or should we have a fall season,” Auch said. We’re not opposed to having both a fall and a spring season, if that’s what our membership tells us, but we’re kind of all over the map with our ‘AA’ schools.”

The next step in the process is having member schools declare their commitment and their preference for a season. The board of directors will meet next in January where the plan is to work on the classifications for the sport, along with decide if it’ll take place in the fall, spring, or both.

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.