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MSHSL votes to push back football, volleyball

NEW ULM — The Minnesota State High School League voted on Tuesday to push back the volleyball and football seasons to Spring 2021. Cross-country, boys’ and girls’ soccer and tennis will all continue to play this fall. The MSHSL also hasn’t finalized any plans for fall adapted activities.

The MSHSL’s fall and winter sports seasons will have their same dates, with boys’ and girls’ soccer to begin on August 17. There will be a 20 percent reduction in weeks and 30 percent reduction in competitions. Soccer also will have no preseason scrimmages and a maximum of two games per week.

The spring seasons will go from roughly March 15 to May 14, and a fourth summer season will go from May 15 until July 15, which is when the traditional spring sports such as baseball, softball, track and field and golf will be played.

The football and volleyball seasons will be pushed back to early spring, with officials voting 13-5 in favor of moving football to the spring session The 12-week season will include six regular-season games.

Both volleyball and football will be allowed to practice this fall, just not compete.

Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s coach Brent Kucera said he wasn’t surprised about the decision made by the MSHSL on Tuesday.

“I was kind of expecting for football to get pushed,” Kucera said. “It’s probably the worst sport there is when it comes to virus contamination. I’m glad to see they left the sports like cross country alone, so those kids can have their normal season, that was good to see. I’m a little perplexed about allowing us to practice in the fall, I still don’t know how I feel about coaching football twice in one year.”

New Ulm High School volleyball coach Stef Dietz had mixed feelings about the announcement, but overall, she’s happy that her athletes will be able to play this year.

“I think my first reaction was ‘yay, we get to have a season,'” Dietz said. “Of course, my heart goes out to all those athletes that didn’t get to play their spring sports last season, that just kept resonating with me. I’m excited for us to move to spring, but there’s a lot of questions yet, like how does that work with the winter sports, there’s lots of things to take a look at, but the biggest thing is that those kids truly love and want to play volleyball will get to have their season come spring. I think that’s what we need to keep focusing on.”

Kucera said that he and other football coaches have plenty of challenges ahead now that the season will be broken up, with practices this fall.

“Football is probably the hardest sport to practice without any games,” he said. “I’m not sure how I feel, I’m not sure what our plans are going to be with that aspect.”

The state high school league also said that fan attendance and coaching at activities will be determined at a later date.

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