- Kansas State High School Activities Association
The Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) is the organization which oversees interscholastic competition in the state of
Kansasat the high schoollevel. It is the only organization in the country that oversees both athletic and non-athletic competition, and sponsors championships in several non-athletic activities.
The KSHSAA was formed in 1937. It resulted from the merger of the statewide Debate League (formed in 1910) and the statewide Athletic Association.
KSHSAA divides schools based upon enrollment of grades 10, 11, and 12 for competition and state and regional championships. The largest 32 schools in the state are class 6A, the next largest 32 become 5A, the next 64 become 4A, 3A, and 2A respectively and the remaining schools become class 1A. These classes are re-evaluated every year for all activities except football, with new classifications announced in September after the start of the school year.
Football is evaluated biannually based only upon enrollment for grades 9, 10, and 11, with classifications for the next two seasons announced in October of an odd-numbered year. Schools with 100 or fewer students in grades 9-11 have the option to play
Eight-man footballinstead of the traditional 11-man game. In 11-man football, there are five classes (6A, 5A, 4A, 3A, 2-1A), with 32 schools in 6A and 5A, 64 schools in 4A and 3A, and the remaining schools (52 for 2008 and 2009) in 2-1A. In eight-man football, there are two divisions of roughly equal size, with 97 schools scheduled to compete in 8-man for the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
Schools form leagues to compete against one another, and participation in a particular league is voluntary. Most schools in a league are located within a close geographic range. The most notable example is in Wichita, where the nine high schools within the city limits form the Greater Wichita Athletic League (GWAL, more commonly known as the City League). However, due to sparse population in western Kansas, schools in the same league are often separated by distances of more than 100 miles, and in a few cases, schools are almost 200 miles apart.
In football, teams are placed by the KSHSAA into districts in both 8-man and 11-man competition, and the top two teams in each district advance to the state playoff tournament. There are eight districts in Classes 6A and 5A and both divisions of 8-man football, and 16 districts in Classes 4A, 3A, and 2-1A. Football is the only sport where schools are contractually required to play other schools.
In some sports and activities where not all small schools may field a team, classifications are combined for purposes of state championships. For example, in policy debate, there are state championships for 6A, 5A, 4A, and 3-2-1A combined.
The association's best known event is the Kansas State track and field championships, which are held the weekend before
Memorial Dayat Cessna Stadiumon the campus of Wichita State University. The meet, which features athletes from schools in all six classes, is the nation's largest high school meet, with more than 3,300 athletes participating. The track meet is the only athletic event (aside from Swimming and Diving) where all schools in all six classes participate at the same site.
The eight-man football championships are held the Saturday before
Thanksgiving, while the 11-man football title games are held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, ensuring the football season ends before December 1. The games are held at various sites across the state, with popular sites including Fort Hays State Universityin Hays, Emporia State Universityin Emporia, the University of Kansasin Lawrence, Kansas State Universityin Manhattan, Pittsburg State Universityin Pittsburg, and Hutchinson Community Collegein Hutchinson, as well as high school stadiums in Salina and Topeka.
Kansas is one of the few states, especially in the Midwest, that holds state football championship games at different sites. State championships in
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsinare held at a single central location, while Ohioholds its games at stadiums in Canton and Massillon, which are located only 11 miles apart.
The state basketball championships are held the second week of March, with girls and boys competition taking place at the same time. The sites for the six classes have remained constant for the past decade, with 6A taking place at Emporia State, 5A at the
Kansas Expocenterin Topeka, 4A at the Bicentennial Centerin Salina, 3A at the Hutchinson Sports Arena, 2A at Bramlage Coliseumon the KSU campus, and 1A at Fort Hays State's Gross Memorial Coliseum.
State championships for
baseballand softballare held at the same time as the track championship, usually at community colleges or large recreational fields, although some championships have been held at Lawrence-Dumont Stadiumin Wichita, home of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball's Wichita Wingnuts, as well as KU in Lawrence.
State championships for wrestling are held in late February every year. Up until 2005, classes 6,5, and 4A held separate but concurrently running tournaments at the Kansas Coliseum in
Wichita, Kansas, while 3-2-1A held their tournament at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays. After that year, KSHSAA began looking for alternative sites for the classes to hold their tournaments for a number of reasons, including remodeling which was to begin on the Coliseum in the following years. In 2006, 4A left and held its own tournament at the [http://www.bicentennial.org Bicentennial Center] in Salina, Kansas, while the other classes stayed at their respective sites. In 2007/2008 season, each of the 4 classes will compete in 4 separate facilities, as the Coliseum will not be available for use for an indefinite amount of time. 3-2-1A and 4A will stay in Hays and Salina respectively, with 6A moving to Charles Koch Arenaat Wichita State Universityand 5A going to Hutchinson High School.
Due to Kansas' cold climate in the winter, the championships for
golf, tennis, and soccer are split. Girls compete in golf and tennis in the fall and soccer in the spring, while boys compete in soccer in the fall and golf and tennis in the spring. Boys' golf teams may compete in grass green (traditional) or sand green competition. Girls who attend schools without golf, tennis, and soccer teams are allowed to play on the boys' teams at the school, but boys are not allowed to play on girls' teams.
KSHSAA classifies its activities into athletic and non-athletic events.
Non athletic events include:
Kansas Association for Youth
* Speech & Drama
* Spirit Activities
Athletic events include:
* Cross Country
* Girls Gymnastics
* Track & Field
*KSHSAA has been sharply criticized by many for some of its policies. Much criticism has come over a transfer rule. The rule states that if a student plays a varsity sport at one school, then transfers to another school (without actually moving to a new school district), the student is ineligible to participate in varsity sports for eighteen weeks. The rule was created to prevent private schools from recruiting star players away from public schools, but it also affects students who simply want to go to a new school while continuing to participate in varsity athletics.Fact|date=March 2008
Also the KSHSAA has been criticized for it's 6A-1A format. Similar sized states, including neighboring Missouri do not have as many classifications, but have more total schools. This over-classification has been deemed a "watered down effect". Many rural schools argue the current classification structure favors schools in larger cities, especially in Classes 5A and 4A, where the discrepancy between the classificaiton numbers is quite large. It has been suggested by many Kansas High School School supporters (most specifically in basketball) that 5A and 6A should combine to form one 64 team classification. Other plans call for the 16 biggest 5A schools to jump to 6A. The idea is opposed by schools in the state's three major metropolitan areas (Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita), since the vast majority of 5A and 6A schools are in those areas.
* [http://www.kshsaa.org KSHSAA Official website]
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