In 2015 the traditional conference format used to group high school football teams in Minnesota will come to an end.
According to the Star Tribune, the Minnesota State High School League board of governors today approved a plan that will disperse every high school football team in the state into one of 18 districts. Each district will include between 12 and 28 teams.
Districts were determined by geography, enrollment and similar community socioeconomics. The Star Tribune adds that each team was asked to name a chief rival, too.
The metro schools will be divided into four groups: East Metro, West Metro, Suburban and Twin City districts. The other 14 districts reside in different geographical regions of the state.
While the districts are wide-and-ranging in terms of school size, a future step will allow each district to eliminate unfair competition by creating sub-districts within each district.
"Everyone needs to keep in mind that this is just a step in the process of developing actual schedules for our member schools," MSHSL Associate Director Kevin Merkle told the board of governors today. "Some districts have a wide range in school enrollment and geography, but once the districts determine their sub-district alignments, most of the enrollment and geographical issues will be solved."
Once sub-districts are created, schedules for future seasons will be completed.
Officials allowed the proposal for a new plan in January after coaches and activities directors pleaded for a change to help cut down on long bus rides; as well as ensure a full slate of eight regular season games, which has been a problem in recent years for some of the state's bigger and stronger football schools.
"Some of the schools that have strong programs, other schools do not want to compete against them and so, then, they do not have games and now, where do they go to get those games?" Merkle told KARE 11 in January. "One of our schools is going to be looking at spending $35-$40,000 this year to travel well into Wisconsin to play a game and should they really have to do that?"
John Millea of the MSHSL says the postseason format will not change. Teams will still be assigned to sections, where they will compete for eight coveted spots in the State Tournament.