Who isn’t talking about the weather these days? Rain, sleet, freezing rain, snow, “sneet” (snow and sleet at the same time). Unseasonably cold temperatures. Athletic facilities unavailable due to the precipitation.
Most Minnesota State High School League member schools have been unable to compete or even able to schedule most of their outdoor spring activities due to what some are calling either a “late spring” or “extended winter.”
MSHSL staff has met and developed some ideas that may assist member schools in making the best of what has so far been a disappointing and miserable spring season.
A memo has been sent to member schools with the intent of assisting administrators in making informed choices about the best out of what our northern climate has to offer in the weeks to come.
Following is the memo that was sent to member schools earlier this month, drafted by Executive Director Dave Stead:
To: Member Schools and Region Secretaries
From: MSHSL Staff
Re: Spring (Really?) Sports
Date: April 15, 2013
We’ve been experiencing a really cruel April Fool’s joke for far too long, and it’s getting to all of us. I know we were spoiled last year, but at some point in time the sun will shine for more than a couple of minutes, the snow will melt, and our spring athletes will have some outside time.
While it’s really important to get outside and have a “real season,” there is a significant difference in weather conditions between the northern and southern parts of Minnesota. Games and meets have been rescheduled, rescheduled, rescheduled and perhaps cancelled. Amidst all of these frustrations, normal school activities and end-of-the-year testing face all of our member schools.
We all know about the participation values inherent in school athletics, and we encourage each school to do everything possible to provide safe conditions for athletes. REMEMBER, you don’t have to play all of the games allowed for your sport. In fact, many teams don’t have that luxury during any spring season. And, as the spring progresses, be sure to keep school time and academics as the highest priority.
Because of the above, our staff has provided a few ideas regarding your regular-season events. You may already have thought of many of the items we’ve listed below, and if you’ve considered additional adjustments, let us know and we’ll pass them on to our other member schools.
· Teams are allowed to play until the end of the season (the final day of the state tournament in that sport) even if your team is eliminated from the tournament. Don’t forget this because these extra days provide a great opportunity for you to work with your younger players who will be returning next year.
· Change your dual contests to triangular or quadrangular ones in order to allow your players to compete against more teams. In golf, that may mean playing 9-hole matches rather than an 18-hole match or inviting twice as many teams to an invitational and only play 9 holes so that everyone has a chance to compete.
· BE SURE TO USE EVERY AVAILABLE SATURDAY for your events. We know many people don’t like to do that, but given the end of the school year and the testing schedule, this is one of the best options you have.
· Double headers in baseball and softball may be a great option to complete two games in one day. THE NFHS HAS AGREED TO LET US PLAY 5 OR 6-INNING DOUBLE HEADERS. Or…you can schedule two 7-inning games. Play the first 7 inning game and do your best to complete the second game. If the second game ends early due to weather conditions or darkness, it can be considered a regulation game if 4 ½ or 5 innings have been completed.
· Conference play could be a single round rather than a double round. You would still have a conference champion and be able to schedule non-conference games.
· Compress the section tournament playoff format. In other words, don’t s-t-r-e-t-c-h out the playoff’s. That change by the Region Committee will allow schools to have additional dates in May and early June to play games that have been lost this spring.
· You have to play when and where the field is ready. This is especially true for Lacrosse as well as baseball and softball. That may mean that you “go to where the field is ready” rather than wait for home games. Remember, this year is different, and while home games are important, playing the game is, perhaps, more important.
· Tennis matches can utilize adjusted scoring for the third set and use the “Super Tie-breaker” format.
· Track and Field meets are considered official meets even when specific field events, such as the discus, cannot be conducted due to the condition of the venue. Mutual agreement must be reached prior to the start of the meet and no team points will be awarded for those events that cannot be conducted. (Rule2-1-6)
Because of the current snowfall and the yet unknown weather conditions for Minnesota, questions have been asked about moving the state tournament dates farther into June. Given the number of changes that would need to be addressed at subsection, section, and state tournament sites, as well as family plans, summer jobs, camps and clinics, and other summer activities that would be conflicted, it doesn’t seem as if that’s an option that could realistically be considered.
However, if there are changes for any of our spring sports, we will contact you ASAP.