The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) board of directors approved three different calendars that could see winter sports beginning as soon as Dec. 21. All in all, the return to sports is now entirely in the hands of Gov. Tim Walz, who will need to lift the shutdown in order for the MSHSL to allow sports to happen.
"Basically, they gave the go-ahead for winter sports. The shoe that has to drop is the governor basically saying the shutdown is over," John Millea of the MSHSL explained to KDEC Radio's Darin Svenson.
Return to Participation Task Force recommended three different calendars:
- Calendar 1: Dec. 21 practices start, games start Jan. 4
- Calendar 2: Jan. 4 practices start, games start Jan. 11
- Calendar 3: Jan. 18 practices start, games start Jan. 25
All three were approved, so when the shutdown ends will dictate which calendar is used. The MSHSL will hold a statewide conference call with athletics directors to explain the three calendars.
"It's good news," Millea continued. "They are trying to be ahead of the curve here and just saying, 'we are going to be ready to go.'"
No matter what calendar is selected, school districts will still have final say about what sports are allowed to resume at its schools, though nothing happens unless the MSHSL and state government are allowing sports and activities to resume.
Thursday's board meeting directly impacts boys and girls basketball, boys and girls hockey, wrestling, alpine and Nordic skiing, swimming, dance, gymnastics, and adapted floor hockey. State tournaments were also discussed, and the league is attempting to build those tournaments into the schedule.
"I think we have a good chance at having state tournaments for winter sports," said Millea. He speculated that Minnesota could have the state hockey tournament for boys and girls at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul with no or limited fans.
If the shutdown is still in place Jan. 18, the MSHSL would need to come up with a new plan.