Dance coaches suspended for 1 year following protest at state competition


Five high school dance coaches are suspended for one year following their protest during an awards ceremony back in February.

Minnesota State High School League board of directors approved Monday the one-year suspension for the head coaches of Chaska, Eastview, Eden Prairie, Lakeville South and Wayzata, the MSHSL said on Facebook.

The five teams were criticized for showing poor sportsmanship at the awards ceremony following the Class AAA State High Kick Championships. The teams turned their backs to the winning squad – the Faribault Emeralds – claiming they did not use original choreography.

Faribault has denied plagiarizing the routine, WCCO reports.

The league board says the coaches will be required to complete "Why We Play" training before being reinstated. It also issued a letter of censure for the schools' athletic directors.

Dozens of people attended Monday's board meeting, the Star Tribune reports.

School athletic directors, coaches, parents and dancers spoke to the board prior to its decision, asking for more time for additional investigation into the incident, John Millea of the MSHSL tweeted.

But the board approved a proposal from the league's executive/eligibility committee to suspend the coaches for a year, with only three board members disapproving, the Star Tribune notes. The board also voted in favor of handing out medals that weren't given at the state competition to dancers from Eastview and Wayzata, Millea tweeted.

Monday's action by the league board goes further than disciplinary actions handed down by the school districts following the fallout.

Eastview, Chaska and Wayzata had previously decided to give their coaches letters of reprimand and suspend them for the first two meets next season. Written reprimands were also given to Lakeville South's activities director and the team's coaches.

The coaches with Eden Prairie's dance program had already left their positions prior to the MSHSL board's decision. The new coaches will not be affected by this, Millea tweeted.

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