11 Interesting Facts About The South Dakota High School Activities Association

1. What is the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s purpose?

The purpose of the South Dakota High School Activities Association is to direct and coordinate interscholastic activities carried on by the member high schools of South Dakota.

The SDHSAA has the duty and obligation to control, coordinate, and direct the operation of the interscholastic activity programs of its member schools. Among these programs are those in athletics, speech, music, student council, publications, and such like or related programs of activities as may be organized among member schools.

The Association must also attempt to equalize activity opportunity by standardizing qualifications for participants, coaching and directing procedures, and treatment of visiting teams and participants in connection with activities.

2. When was the SDHSAA formed?

The SDHSAA was organized in 1905 to manage and foster high school athletics in South Dakota.  At that time, a three-member Board of Directors was selected to administer the Association. These initial members were Superintendent G. E. Muller of Hurley High School, Superintendent R. L. Kirk of Aberdeen High School, and Superintendent A. A. McDonald of Sioux Falls High School.

3. Why was the SDHSAA formed?

The SDHSAA’s initial concerns were primarily in track and field.  During the ensuing years it became evident that the SDHSAA should assume the initiative for a well-balanced athletic program to meet the needs of all schools and all students desiring to participate in athletics. In 1923, the SDHSAA became a member of the National Federation of State Athletic Associations, which now includes all state associations and several Canadian provinces.

Through the years, each non-athletic school activity formed its own organization. However, in 1961, largely through the efforts of the South Dakota High School Principals’ Association, the member schools voted to become an Activities Association. This step merged all of these organizations into one association, which is the current SDHSAA.

4. Who can become a SDHSAA member? 

The SDHSAA’s membership is voluntary. Any high school in South Dakota, whether public, private, parochial, or institutional, if accredited by the South Dakota Division of Elementary and Secondary Education may become a member of the Association. 

5. How is SDHSAA membership obtained?

A school may obtain SDHSAA membership by making a formal application that is authorized by its Board of Education and by subscribing to the rules and by-laws of the Association. Once membership is obtained it is continuous as long as the local school board enacts the annual resolution authorizing membership, the annual dues are paid, and all other requirements are met. 

6. How is the SDHSAA organized?

The SDHSAA’s legislative body includes the entire membership, which meets once each year.  Each member school has one vote, whether the voting is done at the annual meeting or by mail ballot. 

The Association’s executive body has a Board of Directors, which includes eight members consisting of the following:

     ●  Five members must be superintendents, principals, or athletic/activities directors of member schools;

     ●  Two members must be board of education members of member schools; and

     ●  One member must be Native American.

7 How often does the SDHSAA’s Board of Directors meet?

The Association’s Board of Directors meets at least six times each year. 

8. What are the SDHSAA Board of Directors’ duties?

The Board of Directors is responsible for interpreting the SDHSAA’s Constitution and By-Laws, organizing and directing tournaments and meets, determining penalties and forfeitures for violations of rules, settling disputes, registering sports officials, establishing the state office, and employing an executive director and staff to administer the Association. 

9. Does the SDHSAA have a Constitution and By-Laws?

Yes. The SDHSAA has a Constitution and By-Laws. 

10. Is the SDHSAA required to comply with the South Dakota Open Meetings Law?

Yes. The SDHSAA must comply with S.D.C.L. 1-25 (Open Meetings Law).   

11.  Is the SDHSAA required to comply with the South Dakota Public Records Act?

Yes. The SDHSAA must comply with S.D.C.L. 1-27 (Public Records Act).

For more information about the South Dakota High School Activities Association, read Chapter 29 of The South Dakota School Law Deskbook™.