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Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis, June 1, 2021

Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2021 - 6:23 PM


Minnesota State High School League

Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis

Marriott Northwest, Brooklyn Park, MN

Tuesday, June 1, 2021


·       Board President Blaine Novak called the meeting to order at 9:31 a.m.

·       Board member Bill Tauer provided the reflection.

·       The Board of Directors approved the meeting agenda.

·       The Board of Directors approved the meeting minutes of April 15, 2021.

Lobbyist Report

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

·       State governmental leaders have a tentative June 4 deadline to agree on dispersal of $525 million in education funding.

·       A Special Session is planned for June 14.

Legal Counsel Report

·       Legal Counsel Kevin Beck reported one active case.

Executive Director’s Report

·       Executive Director Erich Martens welcomed the Board of Directors to the first in-person meeting in 15 months.

·       Welcomed and introduced new board members that will begin their service in the fall. They are: Suzy Guthmueller, Centennial, MSBA; Jeanna Lilleberg, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, MSBA; Don Peschel, Brandon-Evansville, MASA; Lisa Quednow, Austin, Regions 1-2AA; Dave Rocheleau, Pierz, Regions 5-6A; Teri Staloch, Prior Lake-Savage, MASA. A Governor Appointee is still to be determined.

·       Thanked numerous key groups in the decision-making processes during this past school year, including, but not limited to: LEAD Liaisons, Return to Participation Task Force, AD Advisory Committee, District Football Committee, Finance Advisory Committee, Officials and venue partners.

·       Thanked the many tournament venue partners that were instrumental in providing tournament experiences for our students, coaches and communities. These include Target Center, Target Field, Xcel Energy Center, U of M Aquatics Center, Giants Ridge, and many community venues and member schools.

·       Thanked the Board of Directors for their commitment, responsibility and passionate leadership to the students of Minnesota.

·       Recognized Board President Blaine Novak for his leadership during the challenges of the past school year.

·       Yielded the floor to League Staff for previews of spring state tournament events.

·       Shared that a new member workshop will be held at the League Office on July 13 with plans to move forward with a Board Workshop in early August.

Executive Committee Report

May 10:

·       The committee approved the districts determined by the Football District Placement Committee.

·       The models for the spring state tournaments were previewed, along with review of the formats, venues and sport-specific guidance. The committee approved the formats, venues and guidance for the spring state tournaments.

·       The executive committee approved the resignation notices provided by Lynne Johnson (executive assistant) and Jody Redman (associate director). The League has moved forward with the posting of positions for the hiring of replacements for these two positions.

·       The committee considered the reinstatement of Area Meetings for the 2021-2022 school year and supported the plan to do Fall Area Meetings in-person and support these meetings throughout the year with the LEAD Network on a bi-monthly basis.

·       The committee approved attendance at the NFHS Summer Conference for Board Officers, board members entering their fourth year and Executive Staff.

·       The committee approved a plan for an in-person Board of Directors meeting on June 1.

May 31:

·       The committee met in-person at the League Office and approved the meeting minutes from April 14 and May 10.

·       The committee approved an amendment to the District Football Placements for Goodhue High School and Lewiston-Altura High School because of geographic location and competitive section assignments. The schools have been notified and schedules are in place for this adjustment.

·       The committee reviewed the League’s partnership with USCAH that has been established and discussed the initial focus of collaborating to develop the education and responsive programming that USCAH can provide for all participants and member schools.

·       The committee reviewed the recommendation of the Finance Advisory Committee as it relates to the membership dues model.

·       The committee reviewed a resolution to be included in the Financial Policies and Procedures portion of the Board of Directors Manual. The resolution defines the language of “Annual Membership Dues” as used in the MSHSL Constitution. The committee will seek full Board of Directors approval on this resolution.

·       The MSBA, MASA and the League will host a webinar that focuses on the work of the Finance Advisory Committee and the Approved Membership Dues. It is scheduled for June 3 at 9 a.m. The link to the presentation will be shared with Board Members.

·       The Executive Committee approved the salary agreements for the 2021-2022 and 2022-203 school years with an average increase of 2.04 percent and 1.67 percent over that term. Additionally, the committee approved the hiring of one additional support staff member to support programming following the recent reduction of support staff positions.

·       The committee supports a two-day, one-night workshop inclusive of a board meeting on the second day. League Staff has started planning for the workshop to be held Aug. 2-3.

The Board of Directors approved the Executive Committee report.

Action Items

9A: 2021-2022 Complimentary Ticket List

·       The Board of Directors approved the list of sponsors and partner organizations that receive complimentary tickets to League events.

9B: 2021-2022 Speech Season: Book and Topic

·       The Board of Directors approved the yearly selection of speech books and topics for the 2021-2022 season.

9C: 2021-2022 Board Officers

·       The Board of Directors approved the selection of Board Officers, Tom Jerome (superintendent, Roseau) as president; Troy Stein (activities director, Edina High School), as vice president and Jim Smokrovich (principal at East Ridge High School), as treasurer.

9D: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee

·       The Board of Directors approved the formation of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. A group of Board Members and League Staff have previously met to develop the draft of a framework of a committee that is in line with the League’s strategic direction. The committee’s mission is to create and promote a culture where diversity, equity and inclusion are valued and respected, and would be a standard of all League programs.

9E: 2021-2022 Preliminary Budget

·       The Board of Directors approved a preliminary budget for the 2021-2022 school year. The budget is built on the return of tournaments to their traditional venues and to continue to provide the services, insurance, and programming that has been a part of the League. In addition, it provides for additional classes in cross country, soccer, volleyball and track and field.

9F: 2021-2022 Membership Dues and Activity Fees

·       The Board of Directors approved the Membership Dues and Activity Fees model for the 2021-2022 school year. The model focuses on financial sustainability, equity and fairness and the recommendation of revenue sharing with member schools. Membership Dues will be based on a membership fee, a per-student fee and a per-activity fee. Modifications are in place for smaller-enrollment member schools. Through revenue sharing, excess funds at the end of the fiscal year would reduce membership fees the following school year.

Discussion Items

                        10A: 2020-2021 School Year in Review

·       The Board was encouraged to reflect on the experience of the previous year and share reflections on their experiences and learning. Among reflections shared: Benefits of streaming and broadcast of tournaments are vital to share the experience with others, different tournament formats were implemented and many of them were successful, despite budget challenges many great competitions were held, the value of regular and direct communication is vital for this organization and resulted in increased connections built with AD’s through the LEAD Network and the value of strong working relationships built with the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education are vital.

10B: Tournament Format 2021-2022

·       Cross Country

o   With the addition of a third class, consideration will be to have six races at St. Olaf College on Saturday, Nov. 6 or perhaps move one class to Friday afternoon.

·       Soccer

o   With the addition of a third class, third-place games are not planned to be played at U.S. Bank Stadium. Options will be considered to hold those games in another venue or forego third-place games.

·       Volleyball

o   With the addition of a fourth class of volleyball, additional options will be considered at the Xcel Energy Center as well as other venues in considering consolation rounds.

·       Track and Field

o   With a third class approved, options will be considered, including adding another day to the competition and/or a second venue. Major considerations include the schedule and the number of days required of many officials.

Committee Reports

Eligibility Committee

·       The Board of Directors approved the Eligibility Committee meeting minutes as presented.

Audit/Finance Committee

·       The Board of Directors approved the April 2021 financial statement.

·       The Board of Directors approved the Form 990 that is filed annually.

Marketing and Communications Committee

·       League Staff reported that the Media Advisory Committee met on May 18 for its annual meeting. The group reviewed the winter season of state tournament coverage and previewed the spring schedule.

·       Connect, the League’s monthly online newsletter, is completing its second year of e-publication. The final edition of the 2020-2021 school year will be available Monday, June 7.

·       Online souvenir state tournament programs are nearing the completion of their first year. A pre- and post-tournament edition are offered free of charge and have been very effective.

·       League Staff shared that school registration will begin on the League’s website on Wednesday, June 2.

·       League Staff shared that Transfers and Reviews will be in website development in June.

·       A tool to report participation numbers will be available this week to Activities Directors.

·       The Board of Directors approved to continue the annual sponsorships with Spalding and Baden through 2025 and to extend the partnership with Smitty Officials Apparel for an additional two years.

Education and Leadership Committee

·       The MN Head Coaches Course is a service to member schools for head coaches may meet the requirements of Minnesota Statutes. The courses will continue to be offered in a virtual format this fall with hopes of in-person learning in the winter. The cost is $170.

·       The League’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee is analyzing data collected by the League over the course of the past year and has provided a first draft entitled, “COVID Positive Testing in Minnesota High School Fall and Winter Sports: A guide for future decision making.” This will assist the League in making informed decisions and providing a safe environment for student participants.

·       Davis Whitfield of the NFHS executive staff has contacted the League asking the League to write a grant to the NFHS Foundation to update the Anyone Can Save A Life program that began in Minnesota and became a national initiative in 2014. League Staff will continue discussion on formalizing a plan to write a grant.

·       Officials registration opened May 18. To date, there are 560 registrants.

·       An Officials Recruiting Forum is planned for July 14 in a virtual format with a focus on fall sports.

·       The League is planning to hold two in-person clinics and two virtual clinics for each sport during the 2021-2022 school year.

·       The Officiating Diversity and Inclusion Council has been created and development of the committee and initiatives continues and is expected to partner with the MSHSL DEI Committee.


·       New Board Member Orientation is planned for July 13 at 9 a.m. at the League Office.

·       The League’s Summer Office hours 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, June 21-July 29.  

·       Departing Board Members Mike Domin, Kirby Ekstrom, Blaine Novak, Todd Waterbury and Frank White were recognized for their years of service.    

·       The meeting adjourned at 1:28 p.m.





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