MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota State High School League is staying flexible on resuming winter sports.
Youth sports are on pause right now as part of Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order. That order goes through Dec. 18.
On Thursday, the Minnesota State High School League unanimously voted to resume sports, but how soon that happens depends on what the state decides.
The Minnesota State High School League board of directors approved three schedule options for the return of winter sports.
“I think the flexibility in the motion will allow us to begin and provide the greatest amount of practice time and competition that we can this year,” MSHSL associate director Bob Madison said.
If the state’s current restrictions on youth sports are not extended, winter sports could start practice on Dec. 21. If the restrictions continue, the start date could be Jan. 4 or Jan. 18, but even then the board said adjustments are possible.
The founder of the group “Let Them Play MN” and mother of three athletes spoke to the board ahead of their vote.
“It’s vital for their brain development, mood, mental health aspect. Depression, anxiety, it’s just skyrocketing,” Dawn Gillman said.
Walz said he understood the benefits of sports but included them in the month-long dialback due to 192 outbreaks connected to sports.
Edina High School activities director Troy Stein said the school, which is currently in distance learning, would assess case numbers in the school, city, and county. But they hope to resume as soon as possible.
“I think there is a sense of relief in terms of having some dates set that we can look at and start planning,” he said.
The board didn’t vote on whether or not to have state tournaments but didn’t rule them out. Board members said they were exploring options and, again, being flexible.
Before the executive order went into effect, the state allowed each athlete to have two spectators at games. It’s not yet known if that policy will change with the rise in cases.
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