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Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis: August 1, 2023

Posted: Tuesday, August 1, 2023 - 1:40 PM

Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis, Feb. 4, 2021

Minnesota State High School League   

Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis   

Little Crow Conference Center, Spicer, MN    

Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023    


  • Board President Jim Smokrovich called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.  
  • Board Member Casey Indra provided the reflection. 
  • The Board of Directors approved the meeting agenda. 
  • The Board of Directors Meeting Minutes from June 6, 2023, were approved. 

 Lobbyist’s Report  

  • League Lobbyist Roger Aronson shared updates from the State Legislature and a preview of the school year ahead.  

Legal Counsel Report 

  • League Counsel Kevin Beck reported three active cases. 

Executive Director’s Report 

Executive Director Erich Martens: 

  • Shared a review of the NFHS Summer Meeting held in Seattle. Minnesotans Dave Stead and Bill Webb were inducted in the NFHS Hall of Fame during the event. Moorhead’s Rebecca Meyer-Larson was honored with a national citation award for her work in the Fine Arts.  
  • With the retirements of Region Secretaries Pete Cheeley (Region 5A) and Mike Kolness (Region 8A), two successors will assume those roles. John Vraa, the former activities director at New London-Spicer High School will be the Region Secretary in Region 5A and Todd Selk, the superintendent at Fosston, will be the Region 8A Region Secretary. 
  • Attended the MASSP Conference on June 13-14. The Principals Advisory Committee met in conjunction with the conference and the League had the opportunity to address MASSP colleagues during two breakout sessions.  
  • The LEAD Network will return via Zoom approximately once per month with the first virtual gathering of the school year on Aug. 7 at 10:45 a.m. 
  • The Sections 4 and 5 meeting is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from Tuesday, Aug. 29- Friday, Sept. 1. This is a meeting of executive directors of those state associations along with NFHS Executive Staff. 
  • Fall Area Meetings are scheduled for the second, third and fourth full weeks of September. Meeting locations: Ottertail, Thief River Falls, Chisholm, Rochester, Mankato, Marshall, St. Cloud, Eagan and Brooklyn Park. Board members are encouraged to attend an Area Meeting.
  • Two members of League Staff recently visited New Ulm to consider its interest in hosting one or two classes of the League’s Baseball State Tournament. 
  • League Staff looks to work with the MSHSL Foundation to further share the information of Anyone Can Save a Life and to consider engaging in the grant process for member schools to add an AED in either an uncovered indoor facility or consider a Save Station for an outdoor location.  

Executive Committee Report  

Board President Jim Smokrovich reported: 

  • The committee reviewed the State Tournament Dates for the 2023-2024 school year. Following a Representative Assembly bylaw amendment approval for Adapted Athletics, the Board of Directors approved a revision to the State Tournament Dates for the 2023-2024 school year.  
  • The Board of Directors approved an Executive Committee recommendation to create a sub-committee of the Board of Directors, numbering 6-10 individuals, to work with League Staff on exploring a seeding process for bracketed team state tournaments. 
  • The Board also approved a one-time resolution to define the three-year average of total disbursements for fiscal year 2023, through the use of FY2018, FY2019 and FY 2022. This included a similar definition for fiscal year 2024. Due to the COVID pandemic, FY 2020 and FY 2021 are not representative of typical fiscal years.  
  • The committee discussed implementing Land Acknowledgements within Minnesota State High School League meetings and events.  
  • Shared discussion feedback on geographical representation of state entrants as potentially being a part of belief statements. 
  • The Board of Directors approved the Executive Committee’s report as presented. 

Action Items 

9A: Resolution in Appreciation and Recognition for Service and Dedication 

  • The Board of Directors approved a Resolution in Appreciation and Recognition for Service and Dedication to the Board of Directors in honor of Suzy Guthmueller, Matthew Heier, Amanda Kaus, Astein Osei, John Ostrowski, Troy Stein and John Vraa. 

  9B: 2023-2024 Board of Directors Committee Assignments 

  • The Board of Directors approved the committee assignments for 2023-2024 as assigned. 

9C: Contract for League Lobbyist 

  • The Board of Directors approved an updated contract for League Lobbyist Roger Aronson. 

9D: District Football Policy 

  • The Board of Directors approved the District Football Policy, which includes updating reference language of 9-Man to 9-Player and the number and naming of districts and sub-districts. 

9E: 2023-2024 Complimentary Ticket List 

  • The Board of Directors approved the annual complimentary ticket list for the 2023-2024 school year. 

9F: 2023-2024 Speech Season: Books and Topic 

  • Discussion Task: Communication Breakdown: Keeping the Lines Between Us Open 
  • Prose: The Moth presents All These Wonders, edited by Catherine Burns; Crown Archetype (Penguin Random House); 2017 
  • Poetry: Saving Red, by Sonya Sones, Harper Teen, 2016 
  • Storytelling: Selected stories from Project Gutenberg  (, a free e-book website 

9G: Publications 

  • The Board of Directors approved the annual publications which include: MSHSL Handbook, Board Policy Manual and Guidelines, Region Secretaries Manual, Officials Policy Manual, Media Policy Manual and the Employee Handbook. 

9H: 2023-2024 Strategic Directions 

  • The Board of Directors approved the setting of Strategic Directions for the 2023- 2024 school year that center on:  
  • Health and Safety 
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging 
  • Communication and providing outstanding experiences for students 

9I: 2023-2024 Budget Approval 

  • The Board of Directors approved the budget for the 2023-2024 school year.

9J: Membership Dues 

  • As part of an Action Item that approved the 2023-2024 financial budget, the Board of Directors approved a credit to the member schools of $2.35 million in annual dues over the next two school years in alignment with the Sustainable Financial Model. Just more than $1.4 million will be credited to member schools for the 2023-2024 school year followed by $925,000 in credits for the 2024-2025 school year.  
  • In developing the model, the League committed to reimburse its member schools when finances were available to be credited. 


Discussion Items 

10A: Spring Activity Advisory Proposals 

  • Softball --- This proposal would add a third day to the Softball State Tournament. Day 3 would feature the championship games in each of the 4 classes. 
  • Speech --- This proposal stresses that visual aid source material must be documented in the submitted script but does not need to be cited orally and/or visually during the presentation. Another proposal is to use results from head-to-head matchups as tiebreaking criteria. 
  • Track and Field --- This proposal adds a 400-meter event in the Wheelchair Division. 

10B: Boys Volleyball Season for 2024-2025 

  • League Staff is working with the Boys Volleyball Task Force to identify a season of competition beginning in 2024-2025. Surveys to member schools and officials are forthcoming. A recommendation for a season of competition is expected at the Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, Oct. 5. Boys Volleyball will be played in the Spring of 2024 under Emerging Status operated by the Minnesota Boys Volleyball Association.  

10C: State Tournament Seeding 

  • During the Executive Committee report, the Board of Directors approved the creation of a sub-committee consisting of 6-10 individuals to work with League Staff in exploring a seeding process for bracketed team state tournaments.  

10D: Football State Tournament, Semifinal Seeding 

  • League Staff shared information on a coaches association recommendation to seed the football semifinals Nos. 1-4 in all football classes except Class AAAAAA. 

Committee Reports 

11A: Eligibility Committee 

  • The Eligibility Report was approved as presented. 

11B: Audit/Finance Committee 

The Board of Directors:  

  • Approved the May 2023 and June 2023 financial statements.
  • Approved the Engagement Letter from the State Auditor. 
  • Approved the insurance summary as presented. 

11C: Marketing and Communications Committee 

  • League Staff shared updates on social media engagement.
  • League Staff shared updates on sponsorship and marketing, including an overview of the partnership with PlayFly, the League’s marketing partner. 
  • League Staff shared updates and planning for the second year of the partnership with Signature Concepts, the League’s apparel provider. 
  • League Staff shared updates on the Media Policy Manual and SportsSystems, the League’s media credentialing vendor. 
  • The League’s Hall of Fame Class of 2024 will be inducted on Sunday, April 14, 2024, at a site to be determined.  
  • League Staff shared website analytics on digital souvenir programs and website page views. Page views during the 2022-2023 school year increased by 51 percent for digital souvenir programs. 

11D: Education and Leadership 

  • League Staff shared updates on the 2023-2024 CER Launch and Rollout. As of Tuesday morning, more than 500 CER modules had been completed. 
  • Fall Regional Student Meetings are planned for eight regional locations during September. The primary outcomes will be creating common language and specific behavior expectations that students can bring back to their communities. 
  • League Staff will meet with the Minnesota Head Coaches Course faculty on Aug. 10 to receive training on updated InSideOut content that is part of the course. 
  • League Staff provided an update on the Anyone Can Save a Life refreshed initiative.  
  • The committee discussed the legalization of marijuana that took effect on Tuesday and its impact on League participants. The committee will continue discussion on education and training for coaches on how to best support healthy lifestyle choices for students. 
  • League Staff provided a review of the Officials Consortium 1.0 that took place this summer.   


12A. In-person Board Meeting Schedule 2023-2024 

  • Thursday, October 5, 2023  
  • Thursday, November 30, 2023  
  • Thursday, February 1, 2024  
  • Thursday, April 4, 2024  
  • Tuesday, June 4, 2024 

All meetings begin at 9:30 a.m., unless otherwise posted  

Next Meeting: Thursday, October 5, 2023  

The meeting adjourned at 12:24 p.m. 



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