Winter sports have start dates. Fall sports won't have state tournaments.
The Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors, meeting for the third time in two weeks, set the path for the rest of the 2020-21 calendar year Oct. 1.
With the move of football and volleyball back to the fall season, decided Sept. 21, a more traditional looking winter and spring sports schedule has been finalized.
Start dates for winter include:
Nov. 9: Dance
Nov. 16: Adapted Floor Hockey
Nov. 23: Boys Hockey, Boys Basketball
Nov. 30: Boys Swim and Dive, Girls Hockey, Alpine and Nordic Ski, Wrestling
Dec. 7: Gymnastics, Girls Basketball
The Return to Participation Task Force, chaired by Jill Johnson, Athletic Director at Waconia High School, presented the board of directors with two schedule options.
After discussion, the Maximized Winter Season with 30% reduction in contests -- a maximum for two contests per week -- was approved. Additionally, the final two weeks of the regular season, an allowance of three contests per week is available.
Two weeks for section play, and one week for state tournaments has been placed in the calendar.
Johnson said the maximized winter season provided the most flexibility for rescheduling contests in the event of a school shutdown.
"We have learned that when our athletes are not with us, they are somewhere else. We want our students with us," said Johnson of the importance of winter and spring sports.
Johnson and the Return to Participation Task Force have been meeting weekly for two hours since the summer to provide guidance to the MSHSL and its board of directors.
Maximum contests for winter sports:
Dance (dual/tri): 11
Adapted Floor Hockey: 18
Boys Swim and Dive: 11
Boys Hockey: 18
Girls Hockey: 18
Gymnastics (dual/tri): 11
Boys Basketball: 18
Girls Basketball: 18
Nordic and Alpine Ski (dual/tri): 11
Wrestling (dual/tri): 16 dates, 32 matches max
Fall sport state tournament dates have been part of the schedule, but never a given. MSHSL Executive Director Erich Martens said while it is an ongoing discussion, at this time, his recommendation is to have section play as the culminating event.
He said a "super regional," let's say champions from Section 1 vs Section 2 with one additional level of play after the section tournament, is the very most he could recommend.
“We’re not going to have the experiences that look like what they looked like in 2018-19. I think that’s key for people to know, that the picture they’re looking for sometimes isn’t a reasonable picture to look at," Martens said.
A motion for a super regional was proposed by Edina Activities Director Troy Stein and Region 5AA and 6AA representative, who earlier in the meeting said, "I want our student-athletes to walk away from their season feeling something special."
The motion failed 10-8. In addition to Stein, Russ Reetz of Prior Lake, who represents Regions 3AA and 4AA, and Todd Waterbury of Mankato, who represents Regions 1AA and 2AA, voted yes.
What does that mean?
Sectional events for cross country, girls swimming and diving, volleyball, football, girls tennis, and soccer will be the final step this fall.