Skip to main content


Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis, Oct. 1, 2020

Posted: Thursday, October 1, 2020 - 6:13 PM

Minnesota State High School League

Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis

League Office, Brooklyn Center and via digital platform

Thursday, October 1, 2020, 9 a.m.


·       Board President Blaine Novak called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m.

·       Board member Troy Stein provided the reflection.

·       The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote an amended meeting agenda. Discussion Item 10A, Media Policy Manual --- Streaming, was moved to Action Item 9D.

·       The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote the meeting minutes from Aug. 4, 2020 and Sept. 21, 2020.

·       Pierz High School wrestling coach Skip Toops spoke on behalf of wrestling safety and inclusion for the winter activities season.

·       Rosemount High School Speech and Debate coach Cort Sylvester shared background information on the proposed updated Speech Rules and Policies manual.

·       Nick Cedergren and Dave Dorn of Special Olympics Minnesota presented information on Unified Basketball.  This presentation was related to Discussion Item 10E as a Representative Assembly proposal.

Lobbyist Report

·       League Lobbyist Roger Aronson shared an update on the forthcoming election as it relates to the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Senate.  

·       Introduced discussion of a resolution through the Minnesota School Boards Association regarding online learning statutes that are 17 years old.

Legal Counsel Report

·       Legal Counsel Kevin Beck reported one pending case. The League has filed a motion to dismiss and a hearing is scheduled for Nov. 12.

Executive Director’s Report

·       Executive Director Erich Martens thanked the Board of Directors for their time and service to the member schools.

·       Shared a reflection on the League operations, the gathering of information during the decision-making process, and recognized the Board of Directors  and advisory groups for their tireless work in the working to provide the best opportunities for students and member schools.

·       Shared information regarding the ongoing sharing of information that exists with leadership of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators and the Minnesota School Boards Association.

Executive Committee Report

·       The committee reviewed information and a proposal from Special Olympics Minnesota for Unified Basketball. League Staff will continue to work through the Representative Assembly process with the group.

·       The committee had extensive discussion around membership dues. The committee took action in directing Executive Director Erich Martens to:

Address concerns by responding with direct communication with those entities that requested additional information

Engage with the MASA board to continue discussions. The same engagement is proposed with MSBA.

Host three engagement sessions with superintendents to discuss League finances and membership dues.

Engage a financial task force to explore a membership model moving forward.

Ensure the board synopsis and other League communication is distributed to all superintendents following each board meeting.

·       Reviewed the process for implementing additional classes for certain sports beginning in the fall of 2021

·       Approved adding additional workshops for the Board of Directors during months between regularly scheduled meetings for the purpose of reviewing progress, analyzing data and preparing for continuing decisions.

·       The MASA has requested to have two seats on the Board of Directors. Executive Director Martens, Lobbyist Roger Aronson and Legal Counsel Kevin Beck will work collaboratively with MASA regarding this request.

·       The committee approved employment agreements with League Staff.

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

9A: 2020-2021 Strategic Directions

·       The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote the 2020-2021 MSHSL Strategic Directions. They are:

I.                    The MSHSL Board of Directors, along with League Staff, will develop the Return to Participation Policies during a COVID-19 Pandemic

II.                  The MSHSL will further define, strengthen and promote the vision, values and purpose of education-based activities and athletics.

III.                Together, the MSHSL Board of Directors and League Staff will further develop and deploy effective policy governance models and practices.

IV.                The MSHSL will further develop a sustainable financial model that meets the needs of our students and schools and creates a foundation for the growth desired by schools and communities.

V.                  The MSHSL will establish the technological systems and structures to support the needs of our students, schools and communities.

VI.                The MSHSL will work collaboratively with stakeholders to write policy that promotes and supports diversity and inclusion.


9B: Athletic Season Calendar for the 2020-2021 School Year

·       The Board of Directors approved in a roll call vote a maximized winter activities calendar that will trim 30 percent of contests. The approved plan provides flexible scheduling options for member schools and assists in minimizing exposure risks. Most spring activities will be pushed forward one week, with the exception of track and field and softball, which will move ahead two weeks. Lacrosse will have its traditional start date.

Here are the start dates for winter activities:

Nov 9 --- Dance

Nov. 23 --- Boys Basketball, Boys Hockey

Nov. 30 --- Adapted Floor Hockey, Alpine Skiing and Nordic Skiing, Wrestling, Boys Swimming and Diving, Girls Hockey

Dec. 7 --- Gymnastics, Girls Basketball

9C: Postseason Competition

·       The Board of Directors approved in a roll call vote League Staff’s proposed plans for section tournament play in Girls Tennis, Boys and Girls Soccer, Boys and Girls Cross County and Girls Swimming and Diving. Here is a snapshot:

Girls Tennis --- A team tournament held outdoors with high seeds hosting matches

Boys and Girls Soccer --- Play begins Oct. 12 and will conclude by Oct. 24 in a bracketed team tournament at high seeds

Girls Swimming and Diving --- Competition will take place the week of Oct. 19 employing multiple sites or groups of teams.

Boys and Girls Cross Country --- Meets will take place the week of Oct. 12 with a maximum of four teams competing on the course at one time. Teams will consist of seven runners with top five scoring. If the total number of runners in each group exceeds the MDH guideline of 25, the first wave of runners will be runners 1-6 on the team. A second wave will start up minutes later.

·       The Board of Directors in a roll call vote denied a proposal to a hold fall post-section event.

9D: Media Policy Manual – Streaming

·       The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote updated streaming language in the League’s Media Policy Manual. The approved language allows Region Committees the option to contract with multiple streamers. As part of the updated language, a pay-per-view model is permitted.

Discussion Items

10B: Speech Rules and Policies

·       League Staff shared requested changes for the League’s Speech Rules and Policies manual. Approval of the requested changes will be an Action Item at the Board of Directors meeting on Dec. 3, 2020.

10C: Eligibility Bylaws

·       The Board of Directors approved in a roll call vote a one-time exception recommendation of Bylaw 208 that will allow volleyball participants an opportunity to try out for club volleyball Nov. 1 and/or Nov. 8.

·       The Board of Directors approved in a roll call vote a one-time exception of Bylaw 205 that allows participants who have served a chemical violation in Fall Season 1 to switch to a Fall Season 2 sport (volleyball and football) and complete the season in good standing.

10D: District Football Policy

·       League Staff shared information on the District Football Policy and its language regarding the classification process for 9-man teams. The adjustment is due to a change in the timing of the District Football Alignment Process.

10E: Representative Assembly Process and Dates

·       The Representative Assembly is scheduled for November 17, 2020. There are five topics on the agenda:

Increasing the number of competition dates for Badminton

Adding one meet for gymnastics for an inter- or intra-conference meet at the end of the season

The adoption of Boys volleyball

Approval of the definition and language of Bylaw 110

Approve recommendation of the Co-op task force

·       The projected date for the 2021 Representative Assembly is Tuesday, May 11.

Committee Reports

Eligibility Committee (Meeting held virtually on Monday, Sept. 28)

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

Audit/Finance Committee (Meeting held virtually on Wednesday, Sept. 30)

·       The committee met with Julie Mader, the Lead Auditor for the State Auditor’s office. She discussed the audit scope and requirements for this year’s audit. The audit work will start next week, and it is anticipated that a complete report will be issued at the Board of Directors meeting on Feb. 3, 2021.

·       The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote the financial statements from July and August, 2020.

·       The Board of Directors approved by roll call vote the committee’s recommendation of an annual Fine Arts judges registration fee of $15.

Marketing and Communications Committee (Meeting held virtually on Tuesday, Sept. 29)

·       League Staff shared updates on website development and data gathering of COVID surveys distributed to member schools.

·       MSHSL Connect, the League’s monthly online newsletter, is in its second year of publication. The next edition will be posted Oct. 5.

·       Media guidance is being compiled for site administrators and is expected to be distributed this week.

·       League Staff shared a sponsorship update, including exploring opportunities with prospective companies.

Education and Leadership (Meeting held virtually on Tuesday, Sept. 29)

·       League Staff will work with the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to compile a 1-, 3- and 5-year plan for the Board of Directors to consider around education and support for member schools.

·       The Minnesota Head Coaches courses will begin on Oct. 11 and run through November. These courses are designed to assist new head coaches in member schools who do not yet meet Minnesota statutes.

·       Rules interpretation meetings for volleyball and football are on the League’s website for coaches to complete. Work is beginning on the winter activities courses.

·       Work continues with officials on registration with Arbiter.


·       Board workshop: Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020

·       Next board meeting: Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020

·       Meeting adjourned at 1:20 p.m.


Next Article

Board of Directors set activities calendar for remainder of 2020-2021 school year