After flipping its fall sports season from fall to spring and back to
fall due to coronavirus concerns, Minnesota high school athletes and
coaches will need to adjust once more. One week into its football
playoffs, the Minnesota State High School League has shuttered sports competition for three weeks beginning at midnight Saturday due to an
emergency executive order from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz
MSHSL has canceled the rest of the football and volleyball playoffs and
mandated that all football section play be completed by Friday night. Volleyball is winding up its regular season while playoffs were slated to start next week. The start of the winter season also will be affected due to the shutdown.
In a statement
following the governor's announcement,
the MSHSL said it received feedback from member schools and support
groups and task forces. "Additional flexibility is provided in the
guidance for both
sports to complete their competitions this week. In football,
scheduling adjustments may be made at the region level. In volleyball,
there is an option for member schools to schedule one additional match
this week which may assist in providing some closure for teams.
"Coaches may maintain virtual connection with their student-athletes and
provide support, mentorship and individualized workouts. Further
guidance will be provided regarding virtual coaching by the end of this
week. ... The League will provide additional guidance prior to
the end of this week regarding other programs including remaining winter
sports and fine arts activities. In addition, work will continue in
studying options for the remaining seasons as well as those scheduled to
begin in the spring."
The shutdown late in the season brought back memories of March
, when the MSHSL — like dozens of other state associations — shut down sports deep into the winter playoffs due to the initial U.S. wave of the pandemic.
“There is gratitude that
we’ve had at least some of our season, but it’s also sad,” football parent Dawn
Gillman told the Minnesota Star-Tribune of this week's announcement. “I
do feel frustrated with our leadership in the state of Minnesota in
determining what was safe or not. If the season started on time, it
still could have been shorter and it could be wrapped up by now."
MINNESOTA FOOTBALL BRACKETS: Heading into Friday's final games
On Sept. 21, the MSHSL voted 15-3 to move football and volleyball back to the fall
season, about six weeks after it had
moved those two sports to the spring due to coronavirus concerns. Minnesota was the fourth state at the time to make the double switch.
all, 15 states kept their commitment to move football to the spring while
at least two — Colorado and Wisconsin — offered the sport in both
seasons. Of the 35 that kept football in its traditional fall season,
Alaska had to cancel its state championships due to high COVID-19
numbers, especially around its most populated region of Anchorage. Last
moved its football playoffs back a week and on Sunday,
a three-week delay due to the virus.
Saturday, Wyoming and the Dakotas finished football playoffs
with championship games, and this week, seven more states are scheduled
to finish up, including Ohio which Thursday announced a change of site
due to a health advisory
in Franklin County.