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Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis, April 15, 2021

Posted: Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 3:55 PM


Minnesota State High School League

Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis

League Office, Brooklyn Center and via digital platform

Thursday, April 15, 2021


·       Board President Blaine Novak called the meeting to order at 9:04 a.m.

·       Board member Jim Smokrovich provided the reflection.

·       The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote the meeting agenda.

·       The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote the meeting minutes of Feb. 4, 2021.

·       The Board of Directors moved into closed session at 9:12 a.m., pursuant to MS 13D.05 Subd. 2(a)(3) to discuss not-public education data. The board returned from the closed session at 9:55 a.m.

Lobbyist Report

·       League Lobbyist Roger Aronson shared updates from the State Legislature.

·       The K-12 Education Bills will go to the House and Senate floors soon and are expected to receive numerous amendments.

·       The Governor’s Emergency Powers were extended another 30 days.

·       Mask usage discussion may take place on the House and Senate floors as part of education bills.

Legal Counsel Report

·       Legal Counsel Kevin Beck reported one pending case.

Executive Director’s Report

·       Executive Director Erich Martens greeted the Board of Directors and expressed gratitude to them and the Executive Committee. The thanks extended to many groups for standing together and standing strong in the face of so many challenges in the past year. The thanks continued to member schools and the League programs that make opportunities possible. The thanks concluded with officials and the many League partners that run venues, cover programming, be it broadcasting or streaming, and those that are families and fans of the League, its members schools, participants and communities.

·       The MnIAAA recently held its Spring 2021 Conference in a virtual format. Assistant Director Laura Mackenthun presented four learning sessions as the League’s website and technology presence continues to grow.

·       Associate Director Bob Madison hosted a LEAD Network meeting within the conference. He is the primary host for the weekly LEAD informational meetings that continues to draw 250-300 participants per session.

·       Executive Director Martens shared several key points during his presentation at the conference:

o   We have and will survive this pandemic.

o   The League is much better when we are unified.

o   We are a cooperative; we work together to provide for our students.

o   It takes all of our schools participating to have our regular seasons and tournaments.

o   We need the variety of programming we offer to help students have the opportunity to exercise their passions.

o   This pandemic has pushed us to question many things, yet our principles, beliefs and mission have remained strong throughout.

·       Associate Director Jody Redman has been selected as the keynote speaker for the St. Paul Area Athena Awards on April 21.

·       League Staff provided reviews on winter state tournament events and awards programs.

Executive Committee Report

·       The Executive Committee has met three times prior to this board meeting.

March 8

·       The Executive Committee certified the member school vote for a Constitutional Amendment to place two superintendents permanently on the Board of Directors.

·       Approved moving the start of the Summer Coaching Waiver Period from June 1 to June 7.

·       Approved the postseason COVID-19 Interruption Guidance which defines the process should a team encounter interruptions.

March 15

·       The major portion of this meeting was to review and approve the classification appeals as recommended by the ADs Advisory Committee. All recommendations were approved based on the information provided and the rationale provided in the rubric.

·       The committee also discussed options for working with sponsorships and marketing in the future. Two organizations have continued to provide options for management of League sponsorship programs and have different plans for consideration.

·       The committee visited with representatives of the U.S. Council on Athlete’s Health regarding the benefits of entering into a partnership to broaden and deepen the focus on student health, safety, wellness and well-being through a variety of programming options.

April 14

·       The Executive Committee heard a presentation by Associate Director Bob Madison and Assistant Director Laura Mackenthun that summarized the Competitive Placement process and the maps that are created. The committee had the opportunity to discuss the process and hear key decision-making information in the ways that consistencies are reached. The process meets the requirements of Class Competition policy.

·       The committee voted to approve the recommendation of the ADs Advisory Committee and the League Staff for the placement of schools and to move the recommendation to the full Board of Directors for their approval.

·       The committee discussed concerns that some teams were not compliant with the masking requirements within state tournament competitions. Notice of non-compliance with League requirements will be provided to schools and officials involved in those contests and require a response from the schools and officials.

·       The committee discussed the Representative Assembly Proposed Amendments results of the Region responses to the proposed bylaw changes. Two amendments are on the agenda: Boys Volleyball and Girls Wrestling. Both of those amendment proposals were approved by the required nine of 16 regions. The proposal of Unified Sports was approved by eight of the 16 regions and will not move forward in the Representative Assembly process.

·       The committee heard updates from League Staff on the work that has been done with following up with member schools that have been deemed not in good standing because of overdue invoices for 2021-2022 membership dues. These actions have included letters specific to their situation as well as the legal standing for the Board of Directors to set the membership dues. League Staff will continue to work with these member schools.

·       Finance Committee chair Troy Stein provided an update on the five meetings have been held with the Finance Advisory Committee. The Finance Advisory Committee has established a consensus of $4.5 million membership responsibility for the coming year with confidence that tournament revenues will exceed costs by an estimated $750,000. At the next meeting of the Finance Advisory Committee, discussion is planned to focus on a formula for membership dues and a formula for reducing dues when excess revenue exists.

·       The committee discussed the best methods for establishing a committee focused on the Strategic Direction of Diversity and Inclusion. More work will be done with the assistance of a sub-group of Board of Directors members and staff members. The committee is expected to be initiated at the next Board of Directors meeting in June. Board members are encouraged to be a part of the sub-group for planning.

·       The committee discussed the format for the board workshop in August. The committee advocates for an in-person gathering, citing the value in working and learning together.

·       The Executive Committee approved the extension agreement of independent contractor Craig Perry for an additional 10 weeks.

·       The committee approved a position statement from the League’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee on the mask usage requirements during competition in spring activities. The committee brought forward the position statement to the Board of Directors and it was approved by roll call vote. League Staff will forward the position statement to the Minnesota Department of Health for their review and consideration.

·       The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote the Executive Committee report.

Action Items (Roll call votes were used on all Action Items because of virtual meeting protocol)

9A: MSHSL 2021-2022 Calendar

·       The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote the 2021-2022 Calendar of Activities. These dates are traditional timelines for seasons and maintain the number of weeks for each season.

9B: MSHSL 2021-2022 Meeting Dates

·       The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote a calendar of meeting dates for the Board of Directors, the Representative Assembly, and Area Meetings.

9C: Administrative Region Placement

·       The Board of Directors approved in a roll call vote the placements of schools in Administrative Regions. Using data provided by the Minnesota Department of Education, Administrative Regions are established based on their enrollment and geographic location.

9D: Competitive Section Placement

·       Following a presentation that included the viewing of maps, process and rationale, the Board of Directors approved in a roll call vote the Competitive Section Placements. Maps detailing the placement of teams will be available for viewing on Friday, April 16 on the League’s website

9E: Constitutional Amendment Vote

·       The Board of Directors approved in a roll call vote to certify the member school vote to amend the MSHSL Constitution that would add two superintendents to the League’s Board of Directors. There were 430 schools that participated in the vote, which met the quorum requirement.

9F: Spring Seasons


·       The Board of Directors in a roll call vote approved the calendar for the 2021 spring season of activities. These dates will allow member schools to schedule regular season contests and allow sections to schedule the postseason.

Guidance Documents

·       The Board of Directors in a roll call vote approved updated guidance documents for member schools that meet the requirements of the Minnesota Department of Health.

                             9G: Golf Rules and Policies Formatting

·       The Board of Directors approved in a roll call vote the approval of an updated Golf Rules and Policies manual which separated playing rules from the administrative rules and policies.

9H: Officials Registration Fees and State Tournament Compensation

·       The Board of Directors approved in a roll call vote a recommendation by the Officials Advisory Committee to set the Officials Registration fee for the 2021-2022 school year at $60 for officials with three or more years of experience. The registration is $20 for each additional sport.   

9I: Dance Rules Book

·       The Board of Directors approved in a roll call vote the approval of using the Dance Rules Book for another year. The recommendation is supported by the Minnesota Dance Coaches Association and JAM.

Discussion Items

                             10A: Representative Assembly Amendments

·       The Representative Assembly is scheduled for Tuesday, May 11, 2021, and will be held in a virtual format. There are two items on the agenda for consideration. The Board of Directors had the opportunity to discuss the two agenda items. Feedback will be forwarded to the Representative Assembly via Board President Blaine Novak.

·       Boys Volleyball

This request came in the winter of the 2019-2020 school year and was approved by the Regions to advance to the 2020 Representative Assembly for a vote. The proponents of Boys Volleyball, however, requested that this item be tabled until the spring 2021 meeting on May 11, 2021. If approved, this activity will be enacted for the 2021-2022 school year. 

·       Girls Wrestling

This request has followed the process through the region committees this past winter and was approved by nine of the 16 regions. If approved, Girls Wrestling would be conducted as a separate division at the state tournament. If approved, this activity will be enacted for the 2021-2022 school year.

10B: Membership Dues Discussion

·       League Staff shared that more than 80% percent of the member schools are in good standing with their membership dues. With the support of the Executive Committee, League Staff has taken next steps in working with the remaining member schools in bringing their membership dues current to remain in good standing, per League guidelines.

Committee Reports

Eligibility Committee (Meeting held via virtual platform on Thursday, April 15)

·       The Board of Directors denied by roll call vote a motion that refers the eligibility of Student A to the Executive Committee.

·       The Board of Directors denied by roll call vote a motion to grant varsity eligibility of Student A.  

·       The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote the committee meeting minutes as presented.

Audit/Finance Committee (Meeting held via virtual platform on Wednesday, April 14)

·       The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote the financial statements from February and March 2021.

·       The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote the July 31, 2020, Annual Audit Report.

·       The Audit/Finance Committee recommends that all 16 Regions would receive $10,000 of the $250,000 earmarked from a grant from the Minnesota State High School League Foundation. The remaining $90,000 will be distributed to the Regions based on ongoing operational needs.

Marketing and Communications Committee (Meeting held via virtual platform on Wednesday, April 14)

·       League Staff reported on website tools that were instrumental in the creation of competitive sections for website use.

·       League Staff reported on schedules, rosters and results that are syncing with the website and rSchools Today.

·       League Staff reported a peak of 185,685 website page views on Wednesday, March 31. During March, the website daily views range from 70,000-100,000.  In a typical month, daily page views are 20,000-25,000.

·       League Staff provided data from the online state tournament programs and photo services.

·       League Staff reported that Wells Fargo will continue its partnership with the League for another year at its current level of support. Wells Fargo has been a League sponsor for the past 17 years.

·       Spalding has also renewed its partnership with the League for another five years. Under terms of the agreement, Spalding will provide game balls for the softball, basketball and football state tournaments.

·       League Staff is working to renew sponsorships with Wilson Sports and Baden, as well as establishing a new partnership with GameChanger Media. GameChanger will assist the League with pitch-count reporting in baseball.

·       League Staff is preparing a sponsorship proposal for a new sports medicine partner. The current partnership with M Health Fairview will end on June 30.

Education and Leadership (Meeting held via virtual format on Wednesday, April 14)

·       The League continues to provide Coaches Education courses to assist member schools with a way to train head coaches to meet the requirements of MS 122A.33 --- Head Coach licensure. The League has provided 18 courses and trained 574 head coaches during the 2020-2021 school year.

·       The Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, under the leadership of Dr. Bill Roberts, continues to provide meaningful and ongoing support to League Staff and member schools.

·       The SMAC updated several position statements for dates: Anabolic Steroids and Supplements, Helmet Cover, Flu and CV, Heat Stress Guidelines and Football Preseason and Heat Acclimatization Policy.

·       The SMAC updated the Heat Stress Guidelines with a new wet bulb resource. This will be posted on the website for spring activities.

·       The SMAC discussed changing the term “physician” in Bylaw 107 to “medical professional” working within the scope of their licensure. This will be moved to the Eligibility Committee for their consideration.

·       The committee recommended an Action Item to the board to approve the updating of date of the MSHSL Sports Qualifying Physical Form and Health Questionnaire for 2021-2022 school year. No other changes were made to the form. The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote the committee’s recommendation on the updated document.

·       League Staff, members of the Steering Committee and the Minnesota Vikings will begin putting a plan in place to launch Phase 2 of the InSideOut Initiative in the fall of 2021. There will be six trainings available to ADs and Coaches during Phase 2.

·       Officials registration for the 2021-2022 school year will open May 17.

·       All ADs have access to monitor officials’ eligibility through Arbiter. The League provides training on this.

·       Three regions used Arbiter this winter to assign and pay officials. The plan is to incorporate more regions for spring activities.


·       Board Officer Candidates for 2021-2022 School Year were shared.

·       Election of Officers will take place at the June meeting.

·       Next Meeting: Tuesday, June 1. In-person options will be explored.

·       The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote adjourning the meeting at 1:24 p.m.


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