A lengthy meeting at the Minnesota State High School League headquarters led to a series of decisions that will have huge impact on coaches, student athletes and high school fans around the state.
The MSHSL board of directors voted Tuesday, Aug. 4 to move the high school football season to a so-called “third season,” with play expected to happen from March through May of 2021. Volleyball was also moved to that timeframe.
“It’s about giving kids a chance to play, and a chance to do that in a healthy, safer environment,” the board stated after hours of deliberation.
Football never seemed to be in question. Motions to keep the season in the fall failed immediately, and discussion quickly turned to making it a spring sport. In order to keep away competition with sports like baseball and track, the board said it is eyeing a later start to that spring season, pushing it to May/June and even early July.
Volleyball, meanwhile, was a subject of plenty of discussion. Board members thought, perhaps, the sport could be held indoors with players and coaches only, but, in the end, the majority felt leaving parents out of the crowd defeated the mission of the league altogether.
In the end, it was the first sport scuttled to a spring season.
There was unanimity among the board for outdoor sports. Soccer – which has plenty of contact – was deemed safe because of the pace of play and because it is, ultimately, outdoors. It differentiates from football, the board stated, because of the size of the field (which is larger) and because there is no offensive or defensive line contact, unlike American football.
Cross-country, another typical fall sport, will be modified, with the finishing area being larger and much more spread out. Fans will no longer form a “chute” at the end of the 5k race.
Swimming and diving, though indoors, was also deemed safe due to the chemicals. Tennis was also given a green light. Both are girls’ sports in the fall.
The MSHSL will offer more guidance in the coming weeks for sports, which are set to begin Aug. 17 around the state.