MSHSL approves winter sports start dates, practices, games

MSHSL approves winter sports start dates, practices, games

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The Minnesota State High School League showed its flexibility as the board unanimously approved multiple start options for youth sports Thursday.

“I feel optimistic that we’re going to have some semblance of a season for certain in the winter and it certainly gives, looking at how it’s set up for the spring, it gives me great hope for spring sports to be as close to normal as possible,” MSHSL board member Todd Waterbury said.

The board voted to move ahead with resuming winter sports after the executive order in Minnesota expires.

The soonest winter sports could begin is Dec. 19, although, three options were approved, pending the state’s guidance

Important factors the MSHSL had at the forefront of the decision-making process was giving as much opportunity to winter sports as possible while keeping the integrity of the upcoming seasons.

With the dynamic nature of COVID-19, flexibility is going to be critical for our programs. We need to remain flexible in the start of seasons and in carrying them to conclusion.
MSHSL Executive Director Erich Martens

“When you look at winter and spring, is to keep the integrity of the spring season intact,” Waterbury added. “They’ve already lost a whole year of activity and I think everybody felt pretty strongly keeping that intact.”

The three approved models open the door for state tournaments to take place; which didn’t happen this fall.

“Having a culminating event that we’re accustomed to in the sense of a State Tournament. For example, from Mankato’s perspective, having the state softball tournament as we’ve had it in the past means that Caswell Park would be hosting that event and having folks coming to our community,” explained Waterbury.

As for health and safety, the approved models will reflect guidance from the state.

Even with the board’s decision, the state and local government has the final say on what happens.

“Everything from an educational point of view is gauged and geared toward local decision-making and so, just because the executive order might be lifted and the state high school league would say that you can start doesn’t mean that all districts will be able to start at that particular time,” Waterbury continued. “It’s going to be dependent on the numbers and situations that each of those counties and communities are in.”

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