Kevin Sethre, Staff Writer
The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) announced that high school football and volleyball will be played starting on Sept. 28, reversing an Aug. 4 decision to postpone the sports until the spring while allowing soccer and cross country to hold their seasons during the fall. Volleyball will play an 11-week season and football will play a 10-week season with at least six regular-season games.
According to a Herald Review article authored by Tim Nelson and the Associated Press, “League Executive Director Erick Martens said that traditional postseason tournaments will probably not be played because the league does not have enough money set aside to be able to afford it while complying with a 250-person spectator limit.” (https://getfreshnews.com/2020/09/20/sports-cause-outbreaks-restart-sports-anyway/) If there is any post-season at all, it would likely be a two-week regional playoff.
One of the deciding factors in the decision to bring back football was the concern about the conditions of football fields in the early spring as snow is melting and the ground is thawing. According to information provided by a Star Tribune article, the league conducted a survey amongst its 500 member schools. In this survey they found that 80% of the 394 responses were supportive of fall football and 76% were in favor of fall volleyball.
According to Get Fresh News, “Khris Ehresmann, the infectious disease director at the Minnesota Department of Health, opposed playing football in the fall, citing 62 COVID-19 outbreaks in the state that have been associated with high school sports teams. Per an article from Getfreshnews.com, Ehresmann stated that she saw “no difference now in risk from earlier in the summer when the MSHSL decided to wait on these sports.” (https://getfreshnews.com/2020/09/20/sports-cause-outbreaks-restart-sports-anyway/)
Despite the MSHSL’s decision, it seems unlikely that the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), the conference in which Augsburg sports are played, will reverse their decision to move fall sports to the spring. According to the Center for Disease Control, the state of Minnesota has had 6,216 new cases in the last seven days. As long as transmission rates remain high, it is unlikely that MIAC leaders will decide to resume sports.