Changes coming to HS sports?

March 9, 2009

by Aaron Schultz

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) is the governing body of high school athletics across Minnesota.

It, along with the National Sports Federation, sets rules, starting dates, etc. for each high school sport in the state, with input from each sports’ coaches association.

Now with that out of the way, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this column. Are big changes coming to high school sports in Minnesota?

Well, nothing has taken place just yet, but that doesn’t mean changes aren’t coming.

At the MSHSL’s meeting in March, a number of topics were discussed, most getting to the heart of the matter – cutting costs.

As they say, it is what it is.

With schools feeling the financial pinch now, more than ever, the MSHSL is looking at a number of cost-cutting moves to save schools, the schools they represent, money.

At the March meeting, the MSHSL took no action, but will revisit much of what they talked about come the April meeting.

With that said, I have an unofficial list of some of the changes that could come to high school sports in Minnesota as early as next year, affecting Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity and Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted.

I got this list from Tink Larson of the Minnesota Baseball Coaches Association, and right in the e-mail, he proclaims that it is an unofficial e-mail.

So, should something get left out, or is not as accurate as it maybe should be, I apologize.

Should all of these changes take place, it would drastically affect high school sports as we know them, at least for the coaches.

Without further delay, here is what was discussed at the MSHSL March meeting.

Scrimmage and jamborees

• No action was taken, but the MSHSL will continue to look at limiting this for 2009-10, and recommending between 0-3 scrimmages per sport.

Limiting games

• No action was taken as there are too many unanswered questions to implement anything now.

Here is a list of cost-saving items the MSHSL board of directors is considering over the next couple of years for member schools.

Scrimmages/jamborees (2010)

• No out of state travel

• Limit the number of days

Classes and sections (2011)

• Reduction in number of competitive classes (four classes to three; three classes to two; etc.).

Section and state playoff format (2009)

• Eliminate the number one seed vs. the number eight seed, and the number two seed vs. the number seven seed at the section level.

• Eliminate neutral sites for section games and state quarterfinals (except for crowd size).

• Eliminate double elimination tournaments and/or true seconds.

• Eliminate consolation games for team and individual tournaments.

State tournament venues (2010)

• Look for venues outstate that could save money even without the approval of a coaches association.

Membership fees and reimbursements (2009)

• Use foundation dollars to pay for membership fees.

Reduce games and/or length of season (2010)

• Reduction by sport.

No competition period (2009-2010)

• No contact and/or game period during winter break for three to five days.

Change of coverage for games (2009)

• Reduction in number of officials

• Reduction of game workers

• Reduction in transportation

Maximize revenue back to schools (2009)

• Reduce expenditures for state tournaments

• Reduce bands at state tournaments (maybe).

So there you go, that is what the MSHSL has been discussing as far as cost-saving moves in the upcoming years.

Of course, nothing has been approved at this point, but everything is on the table right now.

We will all just have to stay tuned to see what changes the bad economy brings to Minnesota high school sports in the upcoming years.