Upon further review, fall football and volleyball might be getting a second chance.
We might know by Friday.
“If we’re going to call a special session,” said Minnesota State High School League board member Todd Waterbury, “there’s a better chance than if we don’t call a special session. If we have a meeting, there’s a chance.”
On Tuesday, the Minnesota State High School League board of directors had a workshop, which lasted nearly four hours, to discuss postseason options for fall sports, the winter and spring calendar and an increases in membership fees. There was also a discussion to reverse its decision to have a fall season for football and volleyball, which dominated the discussion.
The message from state health officials was that there will be risks associated with allowing football and volleyball, and it’s a matter of how much risk the MSHSL will take to reinstate those sports.
“There’s no foolproof way to do this,” Waterbury said. “Until we have a vaccine that’s effective, we’re going to be living with this for a while.”
No votes were taken, but the board decided to survey all of Minnesota high schools to gauge the appetite for starting up football and volleyball seasons this fall.
“I didn’t learn a lot of new information today,” said Waterbury, the activities director at Mankato East. “It will be interesting to hear from the membership. I’m glad we’re going to ask for that.”
On Aug. 4, the MSHSL decided to delay the season for football and volleyball until March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Hennepin County asking that the MSHSL ruling about the delay of fall sports be set aside because the MSHSL didn’t follow its own bylaws when making the decision. On online petition to reinstate fall football has also started, with more than 18,000 signatures by mid-afternoon Tuesday.
North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin are currently playing football games and volleyball matches.
Fall football and volleyball practice, which was approved as part of the decision to delay the seasons, began Monday, and while the players seemed excited to practice, rumors of Tuesday’s meeting was providing an additional boost.
“It’s my senior year, and it would be great if we got to have a season in the fall,” West senior football player Wyatt Block said.
There will be further discussions before a vote on fall football and volleyball will be taken, and the next board meeting isn’t scheduled until Oct 1. However, a special session could be called as early as Friday for further discussion or a vote.
The board also talked about postseason competition for the fall sports: girls tennis, boys and girls cross country, girls swimming and diving and boys and girls soccer.
Waterbury said it looks as though there will be some form of regional or section tournament, at the minimum, with details likely by Friday. Decisions on state tournaments will be made after that.
“No matter what we do, people have to realize that it’s not going to be what we’re accustomed to,” Waterbury said.
There was also discussion about the fee increase for the MSHSL member schools, which have been raised significantly with a one-time payment to offset the potential loss of state-tournament revenue in 2020-21. Waterbury said it was good for the board to understand everyone’s concern and further explain the new format for funding the MSHSL.
The Return to Play task force will be meeting again Wednesday.
Follow Chad Courrier on Twitter @ChadCourrier.