Players, parents urge MSHSL to reconsider decision on fall football

Minnesota high school football is back -- sort of.

Players returned to practice Monday, spaced out and wearing masks. For now, it’s just practice for the Bloomington Kennedy Eagles as the Minnesota State High School League remains committed to a spring season for game competition because of COVID-19 concerns.

“We’re not sure if we’re going to do a lot of team drills this week. It’s about getting the boys into shape and getting them adapted to what COVID-19 means, getting them used to what social distancing in football means,” said Bloomington Kennedy Head Football Coach Kedrick Williams, Sr. 

“Some of the guys really want to play right now,” said player Leighton Gabler.

In recent days, pressure has mounted on the MSHSL to reconsider its decision regarding football, allowing a dozen practices in this so-called “fall training” season while the games themselves are delayed for six months.

Over the weekend, players and parents rallied in front of the governor’s mansion in St. Paul and a “let them play MN” social media campaign had more than 11,000 members on Monday.

The high school activities director, Jon Anderson, said it’s been some 40 days since the MSHSL made its football decision. He believes it might warrant a second look.

“If the high school league decides it’s something we should pursue, we’re going to be ready and pull it off and have great experience for our students. And if they wait until March, we’ll wait for March. We’re going to make sure it’s the best possible and safest possible situation for them.”

The MSHSL said it has a board workshop scheduled for Sept. 15 "to continue to inform and hear from our Board of Directors regarding the many plans and adjustments that are made related to our programs. We continue to review previous decisions and work forward in preparing for the coming October 1, 2020 Board Meeting where a calendar of seasons is expected to be approved."