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Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis: February 1, 2024

Posted: Thursday, February 1, 2024 - 2:20 PM

Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis, Feb. 4, 2021


  • Board Member Renee Corneille provided the reflection.  
  • Board President Jim Smokrovich called the meeting to order at 9:38 a.m.   
  • The Board of Directors approved the meeting agenda.  
  • The Board of Directors Meeting Minutes from Nov. 30, 2023, were approved. 
  • Former longtime St. James Activities Director and tennis coach Les Zellmann spoke in support of a Girls Tennis Activity Advisory Proposal to add a third classification. 
  • Board Members shared comments on recent events and thanked League Staff for their work.  

 Lobbyist’s Report   

  • League Lobbyist Roger Aronson shared updates from the State Legislature. 
  • The 2024 Legislative Session is scheduled to begin on Monday, Feb. 12.  
  • A bill addressing ticket fees for venues is expected to be introduced, but the League, as a non-profit organization, would likely not be affected. 
  • Additional bills addressing mistreatment of officials and sudden cardiac arrest are also being considered for introduction.  

Legal Counsel Report  

  • League Counsel Kevin Beck reported one pending case.  

Executive Director’s Report  

Executive Director Erich Martens:  

  • Announced a partnership with TruStone Financial as a League Premier Sponsor. Yielded the floor to Josh Anderson, the League’s General Manager of PlayFly/MSHSL Sports Properties, to share details on the three-year engagement. TruStone Financial is rooted in educational partnerships and will have a significant presence in League activities, initiatives and recognition programs. 
  • In addition to hosting a booth, League Staff presented two sessions during the annual Minnesota School Board Association Conference on Jan. 11. The primary topics of discussion were membership, cooperative agreements, eligibility and the changing landscape of educational settings. 
  • The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast was held on Jan. 15. Members of League Staff, former Associate Director Lisa Lissimore and DEIB Committee members Bill Quan and Rhonda Dean also attended. The event theme was Leading Onward: Elevating New Voices for Justice and Equality. The keynote speaker was Marley Dias moderated by Dr. Yohuru Williams. 
  • Thanked Board Members Jim Smokrovich and Ceil McDonald and the entire Adoption of Programs Committee for their work in developing policy for emerging and sunsetting programs.  
  • Shared an update on the Together in Partnership program. Partnership groups include: AMSD, MSBA, MASA, MASSP, MnIAAA, MSHSCA and SALT. All organizations remain staunch supporters of this important work with our students, promoting safe and respectful participation in all activities. Plans are underway for the 2024-2025 school year.  
  • Open Board Positions will be considered over the coming months with the target that all members will be selected by the June Board meeting. A focus will be on growing the diverse representation of the League. 
  • Yielded the floor to League Staff for a review of the Debate State Tournament. 
  • Yielded the floor to League Staff to share information related to USA Hockey’s recommendation for Neck Protection to be required for next season. The League follows the rules of the National Federation of State High School Associations and with support from the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, Minnesota strongly recommends the use of this protective equipment in high school hockey. The NFHS Hockey Rules Committee meets in April. Minnesota and North Dakota have representation on that committee. 
  • Yielded the floor to League Staff to share an update on the Alpine and Nordic Skiing state meets amid unseasonable temperatures. Plans remain focused on holding the championship events at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. 
  • The culminating ExCEL Recognition is scheduled for Saturday, March 16 during the Girls Basketball State Tournament at Williams Arena. 
  • The Triple A Banquet is Saturday, March 23 at the Loews Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Recognition continues during the Boys Basketball State Tournament later that day at Williams Arena. 
  • The MnIAAA Conference is held the final week of March and again the League will have significant involvement in this professional development event. 
  • The League’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is Sunday, April 14 at the St. Paul InterContinental Riverfront Hotel. Ticketing information for the event is available Monday, Feb. 5. 

Executive Committee Report   

Board President Jim Smokrovich reported the Executive Committee:  

  • Reviewed a Bylaw 110 Case and affirmed the Eligibility Committee’s decision.  
  • Reviewed the Pay Equity Report that was submitted to the State of Minnesota. This report is required every three years. The report was approved by the Executive Committee and forwarded to the full Board of Directors for approval. The Board of Directors approved the action. 
  • Reviewed a request from the Girls Hockey and Boys Hockey advisory committees to amend the policy on Game Ending Procedures for the state tournament third place and consolation final games. The change would limit the games to one eight-minute overtime session to determine a winner. 
  • Reviewed and approved a proposed Softball State Tournament schedule in the first year of a three-day event.  
  • Reviewed the latest draft of the recently updated Behavior Expectations. League Staff, with recommendations from AD Advisory and Principals’ Advisory, have produced the latest version that updates the Minimal Behavior Expectations document created in 2005. The Executive Committee approved the draft and forwarded to the Board of Directors for approval. The Board of Directors approved the newest version for use in the upcoming Winter Tournaments.  
  • Reviewed and affirmed the recommendation of the Conference Placement Committee to place Detroit Lakes High School in the Central Lakes Conference. 
  • Reviewed the Fall Activity Advisory Proposals and an initial draft of the Sunset of Programs Policy. 
  • The Board of Directors approved the Executive Committee report as presented. 

Action Items  

9A: Conference Placement   

  • The Board of Directors approved a Conference Placement Determination and Executive Committee affirmation that Detroit Lakes High School be placed in the Central Lakes Conference. 

9B: Fall Activity Advisory Proposals   

Note: All proposals are reviewed by Region Committees, the AD’s Advisory Committee and the Principals’ Advisory Committee. 


  • The Board of Directors approved a Suspended Game Policy for Soccer.  
  • Regular Season: If less than one-half of the game has been played, the game will be replayed from the point of suspension unless game completion is mutually agreed upon by head coaches in which case the existing score would be final. The host school has the authority to suspend a game for inclement weather.  
  • Postseason: Games that have been suspended before the completion of the first half, or are tied at the point of suspension, shall be replayed from the point of suspension unless game completion is mutually agreed upon by head coaches and tournament manager in which case the existing score would be final. 

Girls Tennis: 

  • With 194 member schools participating in Girls Tennis, the Board of Directors approved a proposal to add a third class. Per League classification policy, the minimum number of teams required for a third class is 192. The approved proposal will divide the participating teams into three equal classes by enrollment. With the passage of the proposal, more students will have access to the state tournament and the reduction in enrollment ratios creates more equitable and balanced section competition. Because the next Competitive Section Placement cycle is in Spring 2025, this will be implemented in the 2025-2026 school year. 


  • The Board of Directors approved implementing a state tournament seeding process for the quarterfinals that determines Nos. 1-8 in the four enrollment classes. Previously, the state tournament quarterfinals were seeded Nos. 1-5 with the pairing of the three remaining qualifying schools determined by a random draw. 


  • The Board of Directors approved the implementation of a seeding system for state quarterfinals in Class Nine-Player through Class AAAAA. The state tournament quarterfinals will be divided geographically into North and South brackets, respectively. Those two brackets in each class will seed the qualifying teams 1-4. The semifinal round at U.S. Bank Stadium would seed the advancing teams with the higher seed in the North playing the lower seed in the South, and the higher seed in the South vs. the lower seed in the North. Class AAAAAA will continue to use a pre-determined bracket based on section seeds. 

Discussion Items  

10A: Representative Assembly Proposals 

  • Bylaw 208.02: Gymnastics --- A Gymnastics Advisory Proposal seeking to provide an opportunity for member school coaches to coach their student-athletes during the school year outside of the designated season, did not receive the required support of the administrative regions to advance to Representative Assembly.  
  • Bylaw 522.07: Dance Team --- A Dance Team Advisory proposal seeking to eliminate the spring tryout window received the required support at the Administrative Region level to advance to the Representative Assembly. If approved by the Representative Assembly, it will move tryouts to the approved winter season which aligns with other League activities. This change would take place in the 2024-2025 season. 
  • The Representative Assembly is Tuesday, May 7. 

10B: Adoption of Programs: Sunset Draft  

  • The Adoption of Programs Committee has completed its work and has submitted a draft policy for consideration by the Board of Directors. With their work completed, the League has received policy language for the adoption of a new program, the policy on engaging in presenting partnerships and the language that provides a process and timeline for possible sunset of League programs that are fewer than 32 schools or teams. This is the first reading of the conclusionary draft. 

10C: 9th Grade Governance 

  • A draft timeline indicating the steps in the consideration of adding 9th Grade Governance in the 2025-2026 school year was presented to the Board of Directors. Ongoing discussion included prominent topics of amending the League’s Constitution, Bylaws and Policies, financial implications, messaging and communications during the Fall 2024 Area Meetings and the creation of a task force.  

 10D: Competitive Section Placement: Boys Volleyball 

  • Boys Volleyball, in Emerging Status as an activity, is a year from its debut as a League-sanctioned activity. In preparation, League Staff shared the process, steps and timeline required for Competitive Section Placement. Feb. 23 is the deadline for member schools to complete surveys requesting 2024-2025 registration and co-op intentions. On March 4, the League will begin the Competitive Section Placement process for the inaugural season in the 2024-2025 school year.  

Committee Reports  

11A: Eligibility Committee  

  • The Board of Directors approved the Eligibility Report as presented.  

11B: Audit/Finance Committee  

  • The Board of Directors approved the November 2023 and December 2023 Financial Statements. 
  • The Board of Directors approved an Audit/Finance Committee recommendation to increase the number of comp tickets to member school administration from four to eight for the Girls and Boys Hockey State Tournaments and the Girls and Boys Basketball State Tournaments with the intent that these tickets be used for additional contest supervision.  

11C: Marketing and Communications Committee 

League Staff shared:  

  • Updates from the Media and Communications Team in final preparations of winter state tournament events  
  • Shared the League’s nominees for two NFHS awards: 
  • Spirit of Sport --- Concordia Academy Student Section 
  • Heart of the Arts --- Juniper Kelly-Swing, Duluth East, senior 
  • Shared a Technology update and examples of League branding present during winter state tournament events.    
  • Wednesday, Feb. 7 is National Women and Girls in Sports Day and will be celebrated at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. The League will have a booth presence with staff in attendance.  

11D: Education and Leadership  

League Staff shared: 

  • Officials have been selected for all winter state tournament events except for Adapted Floor Hockey. The selection of those officials will take place later Thursday, Feb. 1. 
  • Instructional videos for officials and coaches are available on the League’s YouTube channel. 
  • Spring sports preseason meetings are underway and be completed in the next two weeks. 


  • Virtual Board Workshop, Wednesday, March 6, 2024, 2 p.m. 
  • Next In-Person Meeting: Thursday, April 4, 2024, 9:30 a.m.  
  • NFHS Summer Meeting: June 28-July 1, 2024 --- Boston, MA 
  • MSHSL Board of Directors Workshop: July 28-30, site TBA 
  • The meeting adjourned at 12:14 p.m.  

Next Article

Board of Directors Meeting Release: February 1, 2024