A rapidly growing school district such as Elkhorn’s often creates change and, at times, uncertainty when it comes to athletics classification.  Particularly during this time of the school year, questions begin to stir about this topic, specifically, “when will we move to Class A?”  In order to provide as much clarity as possible at this time, please review the below considerations and variables that are used when determining athletics classifications:

  • Activities are broken up into sports according to each school’s enrollment numbers for grades 9-11.
  • Each fall, schools in the state of Nebraska, are required to report their grade 9-11 figures to the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) on the last Friday in September.
  • The NSAA waits for the official publication of this report from the NDE, using these figures to compile a rank-by-size order for their annual classification report.  These figures are traditionally available near the end of December.
  • Once the figures are available, the NSAA then uses this rank order to establish classification for each sport and event they sponsor.
  • These numbers are used for classification of schools for the following year (i.e. numbers turned in to the NDE in September 2017 will be used for classification for 2018-2019 school year).

According to NSAA rules, each activity has a different number of schools that make up their classifications and divisions.  This is mostly due to the number of schools participating, and “history” over time.  Every sport is on a one year cycle except for football, which follows a two-year cycle.

32 school in Class A             28 schools in Class A            26 schools in Class A _        Split # A&B            One Class

B & G Track                           Football  (2 year Cycle)        B & G Tennis                          Swimming

B & G Golf                             Volleyball                               (All others in B)

Wrestling                               Softball


B & G Basketball

B & G Soccer

B & G Cross Country

Classification Change – One change that will be implemented beginning in the fall of 2018 includes football being classified by the number of boys in grades 9-11 in a school.   A school with 425 or more boys, will now be considered Class A for the following two year scheduling cycle.  More information on how this change will affect both ESHS and EHS will follow.

Elkhorn South and METRO Conference Transition – Due to the numbers turned in during the 2016-2017 school year and the 9-11th grade enrollment numbers given to the NDE, a classification change was anticipated due to the thought that ESHS would become larger than both North Platte and Norfolk, moving ESHS into Class A in every sport.   In actuality, both North Platte and Norfolk districts grew proportionally, allowing ESHS to remain in Class B (in the larger sports with 28 teams) for the 2017-2018 school year.

Because the METRO Conference had already accepted ESHS for the fall of 2017, that agreement will be honored and ESHS athletics will move to the METRO Conference, an athletics-only conference, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year.   With the move to the METRO Conference, ESHS will be competing against mostly Class A competition, as well as some Heartland Athletic Conference (HAC) and Eastern Mid Conference (EMC) Schools.   The METRO consists of the following 18 schools from 7 different districts:

OPS Millard Papillion LaVista Bellevue Elkhorn Archdiocese Westside
Benson Millard South Papillion LaVista Bellevue East Elkhorn South Creighton Prep Westside
Burke Millard North Papillion LaVista South Bellevue West Marian
Bryan Millard West


In conclusion, no change in classification is anticipated for the 2017-18 school year.  However, projections conclude that all ESHS sports will likely be in Class A for the 2018-2019 school year.  We anticipate that the enrollment numbers for ESHS that will be turned in to NDE in September 2017 will be approximately 955 students in grades 9-11.  Last year, North Platte turned in 900 and Norfolk turned in 902.  Interestingly, North Platte and Norfolk’s numbers included grades 9-12, and the change will require that only grades 9-11 (for football only) be submitted in 2018.  Therefore, it is projected that ESHS would be larger than both previously mentioned districts in the 2018-2019 school year.  Knowing that there are moving variables and classification happens by season, the following conclusions can be drawn from current projections:

  • 2017-18 School Year
    • Class B – Football, Volleyball, Softball, B&G Basketball, B&G Soccer, B&G XC, Baseball, Boys Tennis
    • Class A – Swimming, B&G Track, B&G Golf, Wrestling, Girls Tennis
  • 2018-19 School Year
    • Class A – All athletic programs
  • 2019-20 School Year
    • Class A – All athletic programs

Elkhorn High School Conference Affiliation and Classification:  There are no plans for Elkhorn High School (EHS) to change conferences due, in part, to the likelihood of a third high school in the near future which will result in splitting EHS into two Class B high schools.  There are also no anticipated changes to athletics classifications for EHS in the 2017-2018 school year.  However, given the change in how classification is determined for football, with it being determined by number of boys in grades 9-11, it is projected the EHS will be Class A for football for the 2018-2019 school year.  Knowing that there are moving variables and classification happens by season, the following conclusions can be drawn from current projections:

  • 2017-2018 School Year
    • Class B:  All athletic programs
  • 2018-19 School Year
    • Class A:  Football, B&G Track, B&G Golf, Wrestling, B&G Tennis
    • Class B:  Volleyball, Softball, B&G Basketball, B&G Soccer, Cross Country, Baseball
  • 2019-2020 School Year
    • Class A:  All athletic programs

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this information, please contact Mark King (EHS) at 402-289-4239 or mking1@epsne.org or Roger Ortmeier (ESHS) at 402-289-0616 or rortmeier@epsne.org.