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Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis: Oct. 5, 2023

Posted: Thursday, October 5, 2023 - 3:41 PM

Board of Directors Meeting Synopsis, Feb. 4, 2021

Minnesota State High School League   

League Office, Brooklyn Center, MN 

Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023    


  • Board President Jim Smokrovich called the meeting to order at 9:29 a.m.  
  • Board Member Jake Timm provided the reflection. 
  • The Board of Directors approved the meeting agenda. 
  • The Board of Directors Meeting Minutes from Aug. 1, 2023, were approved. 
  • Becker softball coach Jason Baune spoke in support of a Spring Activity Advisory proposal that seeks a three-day softball tournament.  
  • Eric Klein, track and field coach at St. Charles and vice president of the coaches association spoke in favor of a Spring Activity Advisory proposal to add a 400-meter event in the wheelchair division. Alexandria coach Meghan Orgeman, president of the coaches association, spoke in favor of the Spring Activity Advisory proposal to adjust qualifying standards in track and field.

Lobbyist’s Report  

  • League Lobbyist Roger Aronson shared updates from the State Legislature, including sharing information on the extensive changes in legislation for K-12 education and a meeting with the chairs of the education committees.   

Legal Counsel Report 

  • League Counsel Kevin Beck reported on the dismissal of one case and updated information on two pending cases.

Executive Director’s Report 

Executive Director Erich Martens: 

  • Thanked Board of Directors members that attended Area Meetings over the course of a three-week span in September. Items of important discussion included, but were not limited to, co-op enrollments, classification, participation eligibility of transgender students, online education, regional representation at state tournaments, and the consideration of providing full governance for ninth grade students and programs.
  • Yielded the floor to League Staff to share feedback and reflection on the eight “Together in Partnership” meetings that were also held across Minnesota. A statewide event will be held Dec. 6 at the St. Paul RiverCentre.
  • League Staff shared information on the newly created health and safety website, an Anyone Can Save A Life video, and the upcoming release of a new Anyone Can Save A Life website.
  • Shared an update from the recent MSHSL Foundation Board Meeting. Currently, assets are $1.22 million. The Foundation Board earmarked $20,000 for the “Together in Partnership” statewide event,” as well as $700,000 for Form A and $400,000 for Form B. The deadline for all applications is Nov. 15.   
  • League Staff shared an update from the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee. The committee now has three working subcommittees in the areas of Education, Personnel and Policy.
  • Met with the legislative leaders of the Association of Metropolitan School Districts, who voiced their support and ongoing work of the League’s “Together in Partnership” initiative.
  • The Dunkers Meeting with ADs from the Minneapolis and St. Paul public high schools is scheduled for Oct. 9.
  • The League will make a presentation at the Minnesota Association of School Administrators conference on Oct. 10 in Duluth

Executive Committee Report  

Board President Jim Smokrovich reported the the Executive Committee: 

  • Approved an additional game waiver for member schools that compete against Rochester STEM Academy in boys basketball.
  • Reviewed the recommendation of the Boys Volleyball Placement Task Force.
  • Reviewed the State Tournament Seeding and Football State Tournament Semifinal Seeding action items.
  • Reviewed the timeline for conference placement assistance for Lester Prairie and Central (Norwood-Young America) high schools. With the dissolution of the Minnesota River Conference, those member schools are seeking assistance for conference placement. Approval of a Conference Placement Recommendation is expected on Nov. 30.
  • Reviewed the Belief Statement on Regional Representation, which is a Discussion Item.

The Executive Committee brought three Action Items to the Board:  

  • The Board of Directors approved the Executive Committee recommendation to accept the Strategic Directions for the 2023-2024 school year. They are:
    • I. The League will support the health, safety and wellness of our students, coaches, administrators and officials through leadership, instruction, support and resources.
    • II. The League will strengthen strategies and actions that promote and support diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in all aspects of the League. Through these strategies and actions, our activities and athletics will be more inclusive, respectful and safe for all.
    • III. The League will utilize highly effective communications systems and structures that will meet the needs of our students, schools and communities and promote the mission, beliefs and values of the League.
  • The Board of Directors approved the Executive Committee recommendation to support Minnesota as the host of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) Sports Officiating Summit in 2027. As the host state partner, the League provides $25,000 towards the cost of the event and receives 100 scholarships for attendees and six scholarships for League Staff. This supports a League strategic direction to continue advocating for the recruitment and retention of officials.
  • The Board of Directors approved an Executive Committee recommendation to adopt a resolution in appreciation and recognition of Hubbard Broadcasting, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Hubbard Broadcasting is a longtime broadcast partner of the League.
  • The Board of Directors approved the Executive Committee’s report as presented. 

Action Items 

9A: Dance Team Rules Book 2023-2024 

  • The Board of Directors approved the restructured Dance Team Rules Book for 2022-2024. 

9B: Spring Activity Advisory Proposals 

  • Softball --- The Board of Directors approved a Spring Activity Advisory Proposal to add a third day to the Softball State Tournament beginning in 2024.
  •  Speech --- The Board of Directors approved a Spring Activity Advisory Proposal to adjust the requirement for citations with the use of visual aids, the definition of stage properties and the implementation of a tie-breaker. These changes are effective in 2024.
  • Track and Field --- The Board of Directors approved two Spring Activity Advisory Proposals: Adding a 400-meter event in the wheelchair division at the section and state meet levels and approved changing the method of calculating the qualifying standards for the state meet. The new standard would be determined by taking the average of the performance of the 9th place finisher in the state preliminaries in the previous three years.

9C: Boys Volleyball Season for 2024-2025 

  • The Board of Directors approved a task force recommendation to place the season of competition for Boys Volleyball in the spring. The activity has been sanctioned as an interscholastic activity by the League beginning in the 2024-2025 school year. Currently, Boys Volleyball, which is played in the spring, is in “emerging status” and administered by the Minnesota Boys High School Volleyball Association.

9D: State Tournament Seeding 

  • The Board of Directors approved a Team State Tournament Seeding Subcommittee recommendation that permits each Team Sport Advisory Committee and/or the sport’s tournament director to propose to the Board of Directors a team sport seeding option to be selected from:
  • Option 1: Team sport seeds Nos. 1-5 with a random draw for seeds Nos. 6, 7 and 8.
  • Option 2: Team sport seeds all teams once per state tournament.
  • Option 3: Team sport does not seed in the first round of the tournament. The team sport will use a regional/sectional or scheduled rotation.

Following the Activity Advisory Proposal process, the soonest that a sport could change its seeding for state tournaments would be for the 2024-2025 school year.

9E: Football State Tournament Semifinal Seeding 

  • In a roll call vote of 10-9, the Board of Directors did not approve a proposal for the 2023 season to seed the semifinal teams, Nos. 1-4, in Class Nine-Player through Class AAAAA.  

Discussion Items 

10A: Belief Statement --- Regional Representation 

  • The Board of Directors reviewed a draft of a Belief Statement:

    Consistent with the organizational structure of the League, state-level postseason participation shall recognize and support     opportunities for participants and teams from all geographic regions of the state.

Adoption of this Belief Statement will be an Action Item for a future Board of Directors meeting. 

10B: Boys Volleyball Planning 2024-2025 

  • With the season of competition determined earlier in the meeting, League Staff shared next steps in the implementation of Boys Volleyball. It includes establishing a Boys Volleyball Coaches Advisory Committee, developing a state tournament date that works within Bylaw 520, determining Competitive Section Placement in the Spring of 2024 and exploring options for a state tournament venue.  

10C: Online Education Providers

  • League Staff shared information on the growing Online Education Provider options available for students and how the increase affects the administration of transfer and eligibility bylaws and policies.

Committee Reports 

11A: Eligibility Committee 

  • The Eligibility Report was approved as presented. 

11B: Audit/Finance Committee 

  • The Board of Directors approved the July 2023 and August 2023 Financial Statements.
  • The Board of Directors approved a Finance Committee recommendation to set the price of admission for the Cross Country State Meet at $13 for adults and $8 for students which is identical to the Track and Field State Meet. This is the first time the Cross Country State Meet will be a ticketed event, per a directive of the Board of Directors that seeks a form of revenue from each state tournament.

11C: Marketing and Communications Committee

League Staff shared:

  • Area Meetings provided opportunities to share website enhancements, including an ADs ability to manage coaches at their member school and pulling officials’ data from Arbiter.
  • The League attended the Minnesota Broadcasters Association Annual Meeting in St. Paul this week. The League’s Hall of Fame Class of 2024 is expected to be announced the week of Oct. 23.
  • Marketing and Sponsorship staff described the fall through spring seasons as months of fulfillment of corporate obligations.

11D: Education and Leadership 

  • The League continues moving forward with state tournament preparations. The selection of state tournament officials in Volleyball, Soccer and Swimming and Diving is completed. Football and Adapted Soccer selections will happen in the coming next week.
  • Rules meetings for winter activities are in development.
  • Documents and training modules for Shot Clock implementation are targeted for release in late October.
  • An elective module for coaches and athletic administrators on Mental Health is now available; additional elective modules are planned.


  • Board Workshop, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2 p.m.
  • Next Board Meeting, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023 
  • The meeting adjourned at 12:24 p.m. 

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