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MSHSL approves fall starts for football, volleyball

The Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors held a special meeting Monday morning to retable and discuss the idea of moving the high school volleyball and football seasons back to the fall. 

While discussions on each season lasted throughout the morning and into the afternoon, the board ultimately decided to move both football and volleyball back to the fall season. 

Volleyball was first on the agenda and after some discussion, a vote was passed 14-4 to move the season back to the fall. 

The new season would allow for practices to begin Sept. 28, with 10 days of practice before the first competitions are allowed to take place Oct. 8. The season will consist of 11 weeks with 14 competition dates. Due to current COVID-19 guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health, no spectators are allowed to attend events in school facilities. 

The football discussion lasted over an hour before the motion to move the season back to the fall was passed, 15-3. The new football season will also begin practices Sept. 28 and the first games will take place Oct. 9-10. The season will consist of six regular-season games and two weeks of postseason. Formatting for postseason play will be determined at a later date. 

Albert Lea, NRHEG, Alden-Conger and Glenville-Emmons are all currently in a distance learning model and will not be allowed to participate until they move into a hybrid model. Albert Lea district staff will meet Thursday to determine plans moving forward and pending the results of those meetings, may be back in time for the start of both seasons. NRHEG, Alden-Conger and Glenville-Emmons will likely miss at least some portion of the seasons. 

Also discussed at the meeting was the postseason format for the fall sports that started their season in August. Here are the formats:

  • For girls’ and boys’ soccer, section tournaments will be played the weeks of Oct. 12 and Oct. 19, with every team limited to two matches per week. 
  • For girls’ swim and dive, a multi-site section meet will be held over two days starting the week of Oct. 19 with a maximum of four teams at any one site. Spectators will not be allowed if meets are held at schools. A maximum of 250 spectators will be allowed at meets not located at schools. The number of participants for each team is limited to 22. 
  • Section tournaments for girls’ tennis will begin Oct. 5 and run through Oct. 17. All guidelines previously approved by the MSHSL will remain in effect. 
  • Multi-site or multi-session meets will be used in boys’ and girls’ cross country starting the week of Oct. 12. The number of teams at the meets will be limited to four and the number of runners per team will decrease from seven to six. 

Advancement beyond the section tournament is yet to be determined in all fall sports. 

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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