MSHSL weighs special meeting to vote on potential fall football and volleyball seasons

The Minnesota State High School League decided to push back high school football, volleyball to spring of 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors considered hosting a special meeting, potentially as soon as Friday, to vote on whether football and volleyball could be played statewide this fall.

The Board of Directors met Tuesday for its regular workshop session where it heard from state health department officials and discussed how and when football and volleyball could be played this school year. Recently, families and players have advocated for the return of football this fall in the form of a petition, which the directors acknowledged Tuesday. 

At the end of the meeting, Board President Blaine Novak said he will consider calling a special meeting, which requires three days’ notice, for as soon as this Friday. This, Novak said, will give the high school league time to survey all of its member schools about returning to play in short order. Then, the board of directors would review the data and ultimately make a determination.

Novak made it clear that the special meeting did not mean those sports would return, but having the early special meeting would allow those sports the runway to prepare for and complete a season this fall. That is, if the board votes to rescind its decision to play football and volleyball in spring and play them sooner instead.

During the meeting Tuesday, the directors expressed a number of concerns about rushing football and volleyball back onto the calendar this spring, including students who joined other sports teams, took jobs during the fall or aren’t in a position to play if their teams return. Logistically, some of the directors worried about getting facilities, ticketing, officials and schedules ready in time to play. 

However, during small group discussions about the 2020-2021 MSHSL athletics calendar, the option some of the directors thought would be the least obstructive to the winter and spring seasons would be to play volleyball and football this fall.

For Board Member Frank White, who said he has received more than 200 emails from families with opinions about returning to play this fall, he said the information available has not changed enough from when the directors made the decision to postpone the seasons in early August.

“I don’t see anything that would change my opinion about where we stand,” he said. “Yes, I would like to see kids play, but I think we have a bigger issue than that. It’s not just about the kids, but for our communities as a whole.”

The MSHSL’s Return to Play Committee has its regularly-scheduled meeting Wednesday. Notice for the potential special meeting could be posted as soon as Tuesday night.