State Tournaments Not Approved For Fall SeasonBy Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) says winter sports are a go, with some changes.

On Thursday, the MSHSL approved the “maximized winter season” with a 30% reduction in regular season games and meets due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There will also be a slightly delayed start.

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Sports like hockey, dance team, swimming, gymnastics, and basketball will have slightly less games and meets this year.

Under the current COVID-19 guidelines set by the state’s health department, no spectators will be allowed at indoor events in school facilities. A limit of 250 fans will be allowed at outdoor facilities.

An hours long meeting with the MSHSL board of directors included the decision to make winter sports happen during the pandemic.

“We want to provide a season for each of our high school activities and athletics in the safest possible manner,” Jill Johnson, chair of the Return to Play Task Force, said.

“I’m really pleased. First, I think the challenge to students right now is a sense of normalcy and getting back to what they experienced,” Minnetonka High School activities director Ted Schultz said.

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Schultz said the school will find a way to make sure parents can be involved in winter sports, but the Minnesota Departments of Health and Education do not allow fans for indoor school facility events. That means live streams may be the norm this season.

But there was another major decision that will mean less play for fall athletes. The board proposed to have regional championships rather than a state tournament, but board members raised concerns of cost and finding venues.

“I just don’t see we have the money and, again, we’re going to rush into providing something in the fall we don’t know we can even accomplish, Frank White, with the MSHSL board of directors, said.

It was ultimately decided there would be no play beyond sectional championships this fall.

“I’m guessing it will be similar in the winter, because until you can start drawing those crowds, it’s pretty hard to put those events on when you’re asking people to travel across the state,” Hopkins district director of activities Dan Johnson said.

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There will be a slight overlap between the end of fall sports and the start of the winter sports season. The 10 winter sports will begin in late November to early December.

Kate Raddatz