Several changes coming to high school football, other sports in 2024
photo by: Matt Tait/Journal-World
All state high school football championships will be held at three locations beginning in 2024, the Kansas State High School Activities Association executive board announced, along with several other key changes to activities approved during a June board meeting, on Wednesday.
All three state football sites will host three games each, one on Nov. 29 and two more the following day. Locations for each of the three sites have yet to be determined.
“The KSHSAA is at a point where we want to look at what combining sites in a few of our championships would look like. We believe it can add to the student and fan experience,” executive director Bill Faflick said with the announcement. “Kansas has a rich tradition of great community support where we host championships. We do not anticipate that changing, it will just look slightly different depending on the year and selection of hosts.”
The current format, which places the Class 6A through 1A championships at individual locations, will cease after the 2023 high school football season.
The goal, seemingly, is to raise the audience size for each state football championship. When it comes to bringing more football to fans, Free State High head coach Kevin Stewart is all for the change.
“I personally like to attend the state championship games, regardless of (whether) we are participating,” Stewart said. “This gives everyone a chance to see more teams and create a great environment for the top teams in the state.”
Soccer state titles moving to one location
Similar to football, all soccer state championships will be consolidated into one site beginning fall of 2024.
Seeding criteria within the substate quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will stay the same, with the higher seed hosting games. The state title match will be played on a weekend (Saturday).
Wrestling state titles moving to three-day format
The Class 6A and 5A state wrestling championships will now be completed within a three-day window — Feb. 22, 23 and 24 — at Hartman Arena in Park City beginning this school year. The Class 4A-1A state wrestling championships will follow the same format in Salina.
Additionally, KSHSAA approved the adoption of the Optimal Performance Calculator (OPC) for use this school year. The system, to be utilized through the Trackwrestling site that currently retains statewide information for high school wrestlers, will help wrestling programs establish an ideal competition weight.
Further details on state championships for football, soccer and wrestling, as well as OPC implementation, will be released later this summer.
Class 2A state basketball title headed to Dodge City
In addition to KSHSAA’s latest announcement, another change will be coming to this year’s lineup of state basketball championships. The Class 2A title, typically hosted at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, will be moving to the United Wireless Arena in Dodge City.
The change is due to scheduling conflicts with Kansas State and the final week of Big 12 basketball’s regular season. The plan, KSHSAA assistant director Kyle Doperalski told the Journal-World, is to return to Manhattan in the future.
“We intend to go back there because it’s a great facility,” Doperalski said. “They have a lot of great volunteers that help us and they’re people that are accustomed to going into Manhattan for the (Class 2A) tournament.”
Consequently, the Class 1A DI state title will move from Dodge City to the Colby Events Center and will be the first-ever state title to be held in Colby.