MSHSL votes to push back high school football, volleyball to spring of 2021 amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Minnesota State High School League met Tuesday morning to determine what the options are for the high school fall sports season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thousands of high school athletes are awaiting word on their futures after hundreds of seniors across the state had their 2020 spring seasons canceled due to the global health pandemic. The MSHSL canceled the winter sports seasons in mid-March, during the Girls State Basketball Tournament and before the Boys State Basketball Tournament, due to the global health pandemic.

MSHSL officials voted Tuesday to proceed with girls tennis, soccer, cross country and girls swimming and diving with limitations starting Aug. 17. The sports would return with a 20 percent reduction in weeks, and 30 percent reduction in competitions. No more than three teams can be involved in cross country meets, and no more than two teams can be involved in tennis and swimming, with no more than two events per week.

The big discussion was about the football season. The options include proceeding in the fall without scrimmages, fewer games and a limited postseason, or moving it to the spring. MSHSL officials voted against having a fall football season that would've started Aug. 17 and featured just six regular season games. Officials voted 13-5 in favor of moving football to the spring, from March 15 to May 15, with a 12-week season that includes six regular season games, localized games and fan attendance to be determined.

Officials voted to allow boys and girls soccer to begin on Aug. 17 with a 20 percent reduction in weeks, and 30 percent reduction in competitions. There will be no preseason scrimmages, and there will be a maximum of two games per week.

MSHSL officials had a lengthy vote on the volleyball season, with the biggest concern being that the sport is played indoors. Officials voted to have a condensed season in the winter and/or spring, which will feature a 20 percent reduction in weeks, 30 percent reduction in matches and no scrimmages, tournaments and games between two teams only.

The MSHL's fall and winter sports seasons will have their same dates. The spring seasons will go from roughly March 15 to May 14, and a fourth summer season will go from May until early July.

Fan attendance and coaching at activities will be determined at a later date. The MSHSL also has yet to finalize any plans for fall adapted activities.