Home      Administration
History of the Minnesota State High School League

The Minnesota State High School League was first organized in 1916 as the State High School Athletic Association. Its primary purposes were (1) to promote amateur sports and (2) to establish uniform eligibility rules for interscholastic contests.

In 1929 it broadened its scope by including all interscholastic athletic activities and added speech and debate. At that time the name was changed to the Minnesota State High School League. Music was added in 1965 and Girls Athletics in 1969.

The League has existed as a nonprofit, voluntary association of the public high schools since its inception. In 1960 it was officially incorporated under the laws of the State of Minnesota as a nonprofit corporation.

First Congress of Schools

On April 23 and 24, 1971, a Congress of the member schools was called to consider the restructuring of the Articles of Incorporation, the Constitution, the Special Rules Sections of each League activity program and the establishment of a General Rules Section. The primary purpose was to update the present structure and to bring it into compliance with existing Non-Profit Laws of the State of Minnesota. In addition, proposals of the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee, nominated by the Commissioner of Education and appointed by the Board of Directors, were acted upon at this meeting.

Four hundred and forty-seven of the 486 total members had official representation at this historic meeting. This was the first meeting of the total membership in the 55 year history of the League.

League Office Building

A mail ballot of the League membership in May of 1972 authorized the Board of Directors to build a Minnesota State High School League office building in Anoka. Construction of the League headquarters began in late September of 1973.  Occupation of the office was completed on January 29, 1974.

In August of 1986 a committee of the Board of Directors was formed to study the office space needs of the League. The results indicated that the office staff had outgrown the Anoka facility and recommended that the Board explore new office sites. With the member schools' approval, the search led to the Brooklyn Center site acquisition in May of 1988. Occupation of the new office building was completed on July 5, 1989.

Second Congress of Schools

On December 8 and 9, 1972, representatives from 427 of the 484 member schools gathered at the Minneapolis Auditorium to participate in the League's 2nd Congress of Schools. Over 900 men and women, boys and girls, school board members, legislators, superintendents, principals, athletic directors, coaches of athletic and non-athletic activities and students actively participated in the action of the Congress.

The 2nd Congress was significant and successful, not because changes resulted, though they are important, but rather because of the manner in which it was conducted. The proceedings of this Congress were the result of a unique, democratic procedure that enabled each of the 900 participants to listen, to learn and to express their opinions concerning League Rules dealing with (1) alcohol, tobacco and drugs, and (2) summer participation as applies to football, basketball and hockey.

Many issues of each topic were presented to the Congress by two panels of outstanding community leaders and educators. However, it was the small discussion session that followed each panel presentation that established the effective process of the Congress. In each small discussion group there was open, frank dialogue and interaction. Everyone was involved. These small group sessions were evaluated and the findings were presented to the total group the following day.

Third Congress of Schools

The Congress of Schools meeting held in the St. Paul Civic Center Auditorium on November 11 and 12, 1987 had more than 600 administrators and school board members attending from 296 member schools of the MSHSL.

The theme of the Congress of Schools was "Ownership Through Commitment, Cooperation and Communication."

The purpose of the two-day meeting was to provide an opportunity for member schools of the MSHSL to participate in workshops and round table discussions in areas that directly affect and impact League-sponsored extracurricular programs; present a first reading of the proposed amendments to the Representative Assembly and to strengthen the Ownership each school has as a League member.

Noted speakers included Dr. Lewis Finch, Superintendent of Schools,  Anoka-Hennepin District No. 11; Brice Durbin, Executive Director, National Federation of State High School Associations; Sharon Wilch, Administrative Assistant, Colorado High School Activities Association; Dr. David Landswerk, Superintendent of Schools, Wayzata Public Schools; and comedienne Susan Vass.

The Congress of Schools was the first conducted by the MSHSL in 15 years, the last Congress being in December, 1972.

CONGRESS OF SCHOOLS - November 12, 1987


Motion: Supt. Wallace Johnson, Dawson-Boyd

2nd: Supt. Ralph Brynelson, Cottonwood

WHEREAS, the Minnesota State High School League, its Board of Directors and its staff has done a commendable and exemplary task in administering and fostering programs for the students in Minnesota schools,

BE THEY HEREBY RECOGNIZED and applauded by the Minnesota Congress of Schools on this date, Thursday, the 12th day of November, 1987.

A bill amending M.S. 129.12 to clarify the legal position of the League was submitted to the legislature by Commissioner of Education Howard Casmey in 1973. It was passed in May 1973.

The bill further provided that membership in the Minnesota State High School League shall be available to any high school in Minnesota which satisfies compulsory attendance pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, Section 120.10. The Board of Directors, at its regular meeting of May 16, 1974, accepted the applications for membership of the following non-public schools effective
August 1, 1974:

Pacelli High School, Austin
Marian High School, Owatonna
Mount St. Benedict H.S., Crookston
Central Minnesota Christian H.S., Prinsburg
Duluth Cathedral H.S.,Duluth
Academy of the Holy Angels, Richfield
Sacred Heart H.S., East Grand Forks
Lourdes High School, Rochester
St. John's Prep School, Collegeville
Cathedral High School, St. Cloud
Southwest Minnesota Christian H.S., Edgerton
Benilde-St. Margaret's, St. Louis Park
Bethlehem Academy, Faribault
Concordia Academy, St. Paul
Grace High School, Fridley
Cretin High School, St. Paul
Blake High School, Hopkins
Derham Hall High School, St. Paul
Good Counsel Academy, Mankato
Hill-Murray High School, St. Paul
Loyola High School, Mankato
St. Agnes High School, St. Paul
Lutheran High School, Mayer
St. Bernard's High School, St. Paul
DeLaSalle High School, Minneapolis
St. Mary's High School, Sleepy Eye
Lutheran High School, Minneapolis
Archbishop Brady High School, West St. Paul
Minnehaha Academy, Minneapolis
St. Thomas Academy, West St. Paul
Regina High School, Minneapolis
St. Croix Lutheran High School, West St. Paul
Cathedral High School, New Ulm
Cotter High School, Winona
Martin Luther Academy, New Ulm
Holy Trinity High School, Winsted
Crosier Seminary High School, Onamia

Reorganization and Reassignment of Schools

On April 17, 1975 the member schools of the Minnesota State High School League approved amendments that provided the changes necessary to implement reorganization for two class competition. The results of the ballot were 357 "yes" and 62 "no".

The Board of Directors assigned the largest 128 schools by enrollment to the "AA" classification. All other member schools were assigned to Class "A". In April 1983 the Board of Directors adopted a policy which assigned schools with a minimum enrollment of 500 students to Class "AA" and schools with an enrollment 1-499 to Class "A".

P.O. Box 690,
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206
Phone: 317-972-6900
Fax: 317-822-5700

The Minnesota State High School League is an active member of the National Federation - the fifty individual state high school athletic and/or activities associations and the association of the District of Columbia. Also affiliated are eight interscholastic organizations from the Canadian Provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan.

These state and provincial associations have united to secure the benefits of cooperative action which eliminate unnecessary duplication of effort and which increase efficiency through the sharing and coordinating of policies of all who are engaged in the administration of high school athletic and activities programs.

The Founding Purposes of the Minnesota State High School League

The Minnesota State High School League is organized for the following educational purposes:
1. To provide promote, extend, manage and administer a program of activities for youth of the schools of the state on subsection, section and state levels in the fields of athletics, speech, music and dramatics on a competitive basis, as well as such other curricular and extracurricular activities as may from time to time be sponsored by the schools of Minnesota.

2. To establish uniform and equitable rules for youth in inter-school activities.

3. To elevate standards of sportsmanship and to encourage the growth of responsible citizenship among the students, member schools and their personnel.

4. To protect youth, member schools and their personnel from exploitation by special interest groups.

5. To provide mutual benefit and relief plans for the assistance of school students injured in athletic events or supervised school activities in meeting medical and hospital expenses incurred by reason of such injuries.

6. To serve the best interests of member schools and their students by providing a medium of cooperation and coordination in educational fields of endeavor and a series of related activities on a state-wide basis, which they individually could not achieve or accomplish for their students and which aid and assist the schools in maintaining a constantly improved program.
Mission Statement

The Minnesota State High School League provides educational opportunities for students through interscholastic athletic and fine arts programs and provides leadership and support for member schools.

We believe that´┐Ż
  • Participation in school activity programs is a privilege and not a right.
  • Sportsmanship needs to have a constant presence in all school-based activity programs.
  • Students should have an equal opportunity to participate in all activities offered by their school.
  • Ethical behavior, dignity and respect are non-negotiable.
  • Student participants who choose to be chemically free must be supported.
  • Collaborative relationships with parents enhance a school's opportunity to positively impact student success.
  • Academic priorities must come before participation in athletic or fine arts activities.
  • Positive role models and an active involvement in a student's life by parents and others are critical to student success.
  • High school activity programs are designed for student participants, and adults must serve in a supportive role.
  • The success of the team is more important than individual honors.
  • Compliance with school, community and League rules is essential for all activity participants.
  • Participation in school-sponsored activities must be inclusive, not exclusive.
  • Ethical behavior, fairness, and embracing diversity best serve students and school communities.
More Information

  • About the MSHSL

  • History of the MSHSL

  • Membership Information

  • Contact League Office / Staff

  • League Staff Responsibilities

  • Contact Board of Directors

  • Contact Region Secretaries

  • State Associations


    Copyright 1994-2020 Minnesota State High School League
    2100 Freeway Boulevard Brooklyn Center, MN 55430-1735    |    (763) 560-2262     |     FAX (763) 569-0499