Minnesota high school athletes were granted answers with Governor Tim Walz's announcement of further shutdowns, Wednesday. That includes that youth sports will be able to begin practices, Jan. 4, 2021.
However, it was not what the athletes and coaches had hoped for. A best-case scenario would have had practice begin Monday, and contests to start as early as Jan. 4. With a further two-week delay, that means that hockey, wrestling and basketball contests won't begin until a later date (likely between Jan. 14-18).
This also falls in line with the second of three models that the Minnesota State High School League released after its Dec. 3 meeting.
It would mean a shortened regular season for sports, including 10 dance matches, 11 Nordic Ski meets, 12 wrestling and gymnastics matches and 13 hockey and basketball games. These numbers effectively cut the winter seasons in half.
The guiding principles listed by the MSHSL Return to Participation Task Force included: Prioritze health and safety, align recommendations with state agencies, provide an opportunity for participation in sports and activities, equality and fairness, acknowledge the financial implications and apply the guidelines consistently.
The Governor said that the extension of restrictions would "help bridge the gap" until a vaccine can be widely distributed, something that health experts say could take months.