Limited attendance at indoor events being allowed

Parameters for holding high school athletic events continue to change. After last week’s Minnesota State High School League decision to allow a limited number of spectators at indoor events, here’s a look at where things stand now:

Spectators – Revised guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education that took effect last week now allows two fans per participant to attend indoor events, up to a maximum of 250. It applies not only to sports but to plays, concerts and any other events that might have spectators. Schools and conferences have the option of enforcing stricter guidelines.

Spectators must have their names on a pass list. Walk-up ticket sales are not allowed.

Outdoor sports such as football, soccer and girls tennis continue to have attendance caps of 250, with spectators required to place their names on pass lists. The South Suburban Conference did not allow spectators at cross country meets all season.

Playoffs – The MSHSL is standing by its decision not to have state-level competitions for any fall sport. The MSHSL board of directors voted down a proposal to hold fall state tournaments at its last meeting Oct. 3.

The high school league this week rejected a proposal from soccer coaches to hold a state tournament the final week of October. The proposed tournament would have been run by coaches and used high school facilities. Teams that won their section tournaments would have been invited to participate. With that idea being turned down, the soccer season will end Oct. 22 after section championship games are played.

Winter sports – They’re on, but there will be changes. All sports will start later – in some cases, significantly later – and all will have reduced schedules.

There will be a 30 percent reduction in the number of games and meets. Hockey and basketball regular seasons, for example, will be reduced to 18 games as opposed to the normal schedules of 25 games for hockey and 26 for basketball. Wrestling will be cut to 16 competition days.

Winter sports teams will have a maximum of two competitions per week until the final two weeks of the regular season, when teams can add a third contest to make up games postponed because of COVID-19.

The MSHSL backed up the start of winter sports seasons in an attempt to prevent overlap with football and volleyball seasons. First practice dates for winter sports:

Boys hockey: Nov. 23.

Girls hockey: Nov. 30.

Boys basketball: Nov. 23.

Girls basketball: Dec. 7.

Wrestling: Nov. 30.

Gymnastics: Dec. 7.

Boys swimming and diving: Nov. 30.

Alpine skiing: Nov. 30.

Nordic skiing: Nov. 30.

Dance team: Nov. 9.

Adapted floor hockey: Nov. 30.

Winter state tournaments – No decision has been made, although it almost certainly will be discussed at upcoming MSHSL meetings, including a board of directors workshop Oct. 28. The MSHSL representative assembly is scheduled to meet Nov. 17, and the next board of directors meeting is Dec. 3.

Spring sports – The start of spring sports had been moved back to May to make a two-month window for spring football and volleyball seasons. Now that football and volleyball have returned to fall, 2021 spring sports are expected to have their traditional start dates.

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