Some big changes were coming to the Wyoming football landscape in 2020, with or without shifts due to reclassification.

But reclassification in and of itself will bring some changes, as well.

With Class 1A 11-man football changing to nine-man next fall, several schools have petitioned to opt up to Class 2A to keep the 11-man version of the sport going at their school. Between petitions and enrollment changes, as many as 12 schools could play football in a different classification next fall.

With the reclassification numbers released to schools by the Wyoming High School Activities Association during the organization’s district meetings this month, some schools will have easier decisions than others.

Before we dive into the breakdowns for each sport, let’s take a look at the “Average Daily Membership” numbers — projected grade 9-12 enrollment numbers — that the WHSAA will use for enrollment-based classification:

1. Kelly Walsh, 1,996.72
2. Natrona, 1,943.63
3. Rock Springs, 1,642.46
4. Cheyenne East, 1,513.53
5. Cheyenne South, 1,492.05
6. Cheyenne Central, 1,410.04
7. Campbell County, 1,289.55
8. Thunder Basin, 1,238.04
9. Laramie, 1,159.28
10. Sheridan, 1,093.16
11. Jackson, 869.91
12. Evanston, 846.25
13. Star Valley, 816.05
14. Green River, 764.81
15. Riverton, 748.15
16. Cody, 619.23
17. Powell, 586.88
18. Lander, 559.10
19. Douglas, 543.84
20. Rawlins, 473.09
21. Worland, 442.94
22. Buffalo, 356.91
23. Torrington, 352.13
24. Pinedale, 341.15
25. Wheatland, 282.30
26. Mountain View, 275.54
27. Newcastle, 262.35
28. Lyman, 237.37
29. Burns, 229.00
30. Lovell, 226.03
31. Thermopolis, 213.29
32. Kemmerer, 188.70
33. Moorcroft, 188.08
34. Glenrock, 182.35
35. Tongue River, 174.00
36. Big Piney, 160.72
37. Greybull, 147.59
38. Wyoming Indian, 146.95
39. Rocky Mountain, 129.86
40. Big Horn, 127.86
41. Wind River, 127.01
42. Wright, 126.78
43. Sundance, 123.11
44. Shoshoni, 122.63
45. Pine Bluffs, 112.46
46. Lusk, 90.67
47. Riverside, 87.27
48. St. Stephens, 82.74
49. Saratoga, 82.62
50. Lingle, 78.54
51. Cokeville, 77.41
52. Southeast, 76.77
53. Burlington, 76.41
54. Guernsey-Sunrise, 69.39
55. Upton, 66.68
56. Normative Services, 65.00
57. Hanna, 62.87
58. Midwest, 61.00
59. Farson, 57.90
60. Hulett, 56.57
61. Kaycee, 52.82
62. Snake River, 51.40
63. Fort Washakie, 49.93
64. Encampment, 43.44
65. Dubois, 42.79
66. Arapaho Charter, 40.01
67. Meeteetse, 34.50
68. Arvada-Clearmont, 31.06
69. Ten Sleep, 31.04
70. Rock River, 27.67
71. Glendo, 16.42
72. Chugwater, 7.65

Here’s a quick look at how reclassification will likely affect each sport (with football’s changes noted at the end of this post):

BASKETBALL, VOLLEYBALL, TRACK (16-16-16-rest): The only likely change in 3A comes in the Southwest. Kemmerer and Big Piney will switch places, with Kemmerer moving up to Class 3A and Big Piney down to Class 2A.

The only other anticipated change comes with St. Stephens and Southeast, as St. Stephens jumps to 2A and Southeast moves down to 1A.

In 2A, it’s probable (and at this point, my conjecture) that Wright will move to the SE District to take Southeast’s place, Tongue River will move to the NE District to take Wright’s place, and St. Stephens will slide into the NW to fill Tongue River’s spot.

No changes are anticipated for 4A in these sports.

CROSS COUNTRY, GOLF, SWIMMING, WRESTLING (12-16-rest): These three-class (cross country, golf, wrestling) and two-class (swimming) sports will likely see only one change. Jackson and Green River will swap spots in Class 4A, with Jackson moving up and Green River moving down.

SOCCER (14-rest): Soccer will see no classification changes prompted by enrollment.

OTHER SPORTS: Wyoming’s remaining sports have only one classification, which makes this discussion moot to them.

Laird said no other schools or programs in any sports except for football have put forth opt-up or opt-down requests to the WHSAA. However, football has prompted plenty of such requests. … And that brings us to…

FOOTBALL (10-12-14-14-rest): Purely by enrollment differences, several schools will change classifications for 2020.

  • Buffalo and Torrington will flip-flop their spots, with Buffalo moving back to 3A and Torrington to 2A.
  • Tongue River and Greybull will also trade, with Tongue River moving to 2A and Greybull to 1A.
  • Lingle and St. Stephens will be classified as nine-man programs by enrollment and move up.
  • Riverside and Saratoga, currently opting down to play six-man schedules, are scheduled to move to the nine-man division.
  • Southeast will be classified as a six-man school by enrollment (but has requested to opt up).

Then it gets messy, as teams opt up from nine-man (or six-man) classifications to remain 11-man programs.

Five schools — Big Horn, Cokeville, Upton-Sundance, Southeast and Moorcroft — have submitted opt-up or opt-down requests to the WHSAA, WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird said via email to wyoming-football.com on Tuesday.

With nine-man’s start at the 1A level, two programs — Big Horn and Cokeville — have asked the WHSAA to opt up from nine-man to 2A, with Upton-Sundance also joining 2A per its co-op. Additionally, Southeast has requested to opt up from six-man to nine-man.

Meanwhile, Moorcroft has asked to opt down from Class 2A to Class 1A nine-man. Laird said officials from Moorcroft are scheduled to address the WHSAA board next week to ask for playoff eligibility.

If all opt-up and opt-down requests are approved — which won’t be official until passed twice by the WHSAA board of directors in meetings in both September and November — a total of 12 schools could play in different classifications in 2020, not including the schools staying in 1A and making the change from 11-man to nine-man.

No changes are slated for Class 4A football.

WHSAA Associate Commissioner Trevor Wilson provided a tentative conference alignment via email on Tuesday. However, all conference alignments must be approved by the schools and won’t be finalized until the WHSAA’s second board meeting of the school year in November.

TENTATIVE conference alignments include:

4A: No changes.

3A: Buffalo replaces Torrington in the East; no other changes.

2A East: Big Horn, Burns, Glenrock, Newcastle, Tongue River, Torrington, Upton-Sundance, Wheatland.

2A West: Big Piney, Cokeville, Kemmerer, Lovell, Lyman, Mountain View, Pinedale, Thermopolis.

1A nine-man East: Lingle, Lusk, Moorcroft, Pine Bluffs, Saratoga, Southeast, Wright.

1A nine-man West: Greybull, Riverside, Rocky Mountain, St. Stephens, Shoshoni, Wind River, Wyoming Indian.

1A six-man East: Guernsey, Kaycee, Hulett, Hanna, NSI, Midwest.

1A six-man West: Burlington, Encampment, Dubois, Farson, Meeteetse, Snake River, Ten Sleep.

–patrick

2 Thoughts on “Big changes coming: 2020-21/2021-22 Wyoming sports reclassification numbers released

  1. Patrick – Thanks for all of the work to put this together. I am curious if you can give us any more information about how 9 man football will work – any different rules/field size etc. I’m familiar with 8-man and have now seen a few 6-man games, but have never lived anywhere with 9-man leagues. I would appreciate any insight you have.

  2. Hi coach, I’m pretty sure nine-man will work similarly to when Wyoming used to have it back in the early 1990s. The only rule difference between nine-man and 11-man is the removal of two players from the line — five guys on the offensive line of scrimmage instead of seven. Nine-man offenses typically look very similar to 11-man offenses because the number of backs and receivers is the same. The defensive strategy is a bit more complicated, but the core of it is still very similar to 11-man.

    NFHS rules say nine-man is supposed to be played on an 80-by-40 field, like six-man, but I’m almost positive Wyoming will change that rule on a statewide level and keep fields at 100-by-53.3. That’s how fields were previously oriented in nine-man, and it allowed for nine-man vs. 11-man hybrid games against 11-man JVs/soph teams. All the other rules are basically the same.

    When I was in Fargo, nine-man was absolutely the game of choice for small schools in North Dakota and Minnesota, and South Dakota has three separate classifications that are just nine-man. It really helps those smaller schools where players with physical size are usually lacking.

    –patrick

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