MSHSL delivers school sports plan

Brandon Streich
Sports Writer
St. Mary's football field will be a quiet place this fall, as will high school football fields throughout the state, as the Minnesota State High School League decided on playing football next spring.

On Tuesday, Aug. 4, the Minnesota State High School League held a board meeting to unveil their plans for the fall sports season. During the meeting, an 18-member board voted for the following:

•football and volleyball have been moved to the spring.

•Tennis and cross country will start on time — Aug. 17.

The board first voted down a motion to have football begin as normal on Aug. 17. A second motion was then made to move football to the spring and was approved. Thus far, Minnesota is one of fewer than 10 states to move football to the spring amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The spring football season will not include scrimmages, instead the season will be shortened with fewer games and the postseason plan is currently TBD. Cross country events will be limited to three teams, while tennis will have only two teams per meet. These sports will be kept to 1-2 events per week only.

Volleyball was also moved to spring after motions to move it to winter or early spring failed. Originally, a split 9-9 vote was determined on moving volleyball to the spring. The main concern around hosting volleyball in the fall as normal was the indoor nature. The move to spring is far from perfect, but it ensures a season. After much discussion during the meeting, the motion passed 11-7 to move volleyball season to the spring.

However, with no football or volleyball games being held in the fall, the MSHSL board approved players the ability to practice this fall. The vote to allow practices passed 17-1. In addition, those athletes that lost their season last spring will be allowed to hold practices this fall as well.

The football season will consist of a 12-week season, six games. Dates have not been determined but will be in March through May.

Calendar-wise, the MSHSL will adopt a “four-season plan” for the 2020-21 sports seasons. Fall and winter sports as scheduled, spring season will be from mid-March to mid-May, and summer from May until early July. Traditional spring sports such as baseball, softball, golf, and track will move to the summer schedule.

With much yet to be determined, the MSHSL is making tough decisions where whichever decision they make will make half the population happy. It is essential we help student-athletes adapt and keep them focused on real life perspectives. The Herald-Dispatch will have more on the “new” fall sports season, with thoughts and comments from coaches, athletic directors, and student-athletes, next week following the MSHSL athletic director LEAD network meeting that will be held Thursday, Aug. 6.