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Home Page Photo League adopts District Football scheduling plan for 2015 and beyond

Minnesota State High School League schools should no longer have a reason to travel far out of state to find football opponents or play less than an eight-game regular season football schedule. The League Board of Directors today unanimously adopted a plan that places all member schools with football programs into Districts. The members of each district will divide the district into sub-districts, and then create a full schedule for each team. In nearly all cases the placement of schools will not negatively affect traditional rivalries or preferred opponents.

For several years League staff, school administrators and football coaches have sought a solution for schools that have had difficulty filling their regular season football schedule. A committee of coaches, athletic administrators and Board members developed a District Football Scheduling System that was approved by the Board in January. A separate District Placement Committee made up of coaches and administrators worked hard to group schools into districts based on enrollment, geography and like schools, while also considering individual school preferences for maintaining traditional opponents.

"Everyone needs to keep in mind that this is just a step in the process of developing actual schedules for our member schools," explained Associate Director Kevin Merkle in presenting the plan to the Board. "Some districts have a wide range in school enrollment and geography, but once the districts determine their sub-district alignments, most of the enrollment and geographical issues will be solved."

The recommendation approved by the Board of Directors included:
  • Placement of all schools in a scheduling district
  • Final decision on appeals from schools who requested to be placed in 9-Man
  • Bylaws to guide the work of each district
  • Allowing limited inter-district play upon approval of the Board of Directors
  • A plan for the initial meetings for each district that will be lead by members of the District Football Placement Committee.

    The 10-member District Football Placement Committee met five times since mid-March to place schools in districts, using enrollment, geography, like schools and current conference membership and current opponents as key criteria. Schools were given the opportunity to provide information to the committee in advance, including three teams that they would like to continue to schedule. Those requests were reviewed carefully and were met to the extent possible. More than 90 percent of the schools' requests were met, and a significant majority of schools were placed in a district with most, if not all, of the schools that they now play.

    Districts will have initial meetings in the near future to discuss the placements and the next steps in the process. The next major step will be for districts to decide on sub-district alignments. Once that is completed, schedules for the 2015 and 2016 seasons can be developed. The goal is for all schools to have a complete schedule for both years by Nov. 1, 2014.

    "We are indebted to the members of the District Football Placement Committee for their diligence and hard work in this process," Merkle told the Board, "They put in an extraordinary amount of time and effort and their focus was always on doing what was best for our member schools and their students."

    To view the new football districts listing the schools placed in each district, click on the link below.
  • District Lists and Maps

    Starting The Year Right At St. Charles High School
    Posted by John Millea(jmillea@mshsl.org)- Updated 8/20/2014 1:37:14 PM

    ST. CHARLES – Playing time. Conflict resolution. Expectations. Academics. In an auditorium filled with high school athletes and their parents, these themes and more were discussed Tuesday evening. It was an annual event at St. Charles High School; a meeting to kick off the new school year with the right kind of mindset for athletes, parents, coaches and administrators.

    Athletic director Scott McCready has held this meeting for the past seven years. Athletes and at least one of their parents are required to attend. I was honored to be a guest speaker on Tuesday, talking about some of the special stories I have written over the years, how much high school activities mean to me, and why winning and losing is only one part of the experience.

    Each person was given a six-page packet as they entered the auditorium at St. Charles Elementary School. The athletes and parents signed one page and returned it as proof of their attendance. At the top of the first page were listed “Some things to think about:”

    --As parents you have had your opportunity as athletes, now it is your turn to be a supportive parent.
    --Let the kids own their athletic experiences.
    --Teach them how to self-advocate with coaches and teachers.
    --Enable them to be successful on their own with your background support.
    --The best way to get college tuition assistance is through academic scholarships – NOT athletic.

    McCready told the crowd that only three percent of all high school athletes will play at any level in college and only one out of 12,000 will ever become a professional athlete. The information packet also included these facts: For every professional athlete there are 325 job openings for teachers, 60 for physicians, 80 for computer programmers, 40 for social workers, etc.

    In St. Charles there are specific policies for playing time in seventh- and eighth-grade sports, ninth-grade sports, B squad sports and varsity sports. The chain of command to resolve a conflict goes from athlete to coach(es) to athletic director to principal to superintendent to school board. The info packet spelled out these things, along with specific points about the role of coaches and parents.

    The packet also included information about school attendance and its impact on athletic participation; how academics can impact participation; and how the school dress code also applies to athletic events.

    McCready talked about social media, as well. Students and parents were informed that if anything was posted that appeared troubling, the administration would have to investigate. He told the students that the best way to avoid this was to stay away from events and gatherings that could lead to issues.

    The information packet ended with this strong, positive message: “We want to provide a positive and enjoyable experience for your student through educational activities. We don’t claim to be perfect in all that we do, but we do want what is best for your children. Please work with us to enhance the experience through communication and cooperation.”

    Let’s all have a great year.

    *Schools/teams John has visited: 7
    *Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 555
    Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

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