Meetings are not nearly as thrilling as sporting events, but meetings are part of the business of the MSHSL as well as every school district in Minnesota. An important round of area meetings concluded Thursday At Edinburgh USA golf course in Brooklyn Park.
Thursday’s event was the final area meeting of the spring, following recent gatherings in Mankato, Marshall, Rochester, Fergus Falls, Thief River Falls, Chisholm and Brainerd. Area meetings are held in the spring and fall each year as a way to share information with administrators from every school in Minnesota and bring their input back to the MSHSL office. Approximately 150 metro-area athletic/activity administrators attended Thursday’s meeting.
A very important and different type of gathering will be held at the same site Monday when the MSHSL representative assembly meets. The assembly, a group of 48 delegates representing schools from all over the state, is the body that must approve any proposed changes to MSHSL bylaws. There are several proposed changes on Monday’s agenda, and we’ll get to those in a moment,
Two other topics of note from the area meetings are something called Success Factor and an update on district football.
Success Factor is a formula that some states are using as a way to try and level the playing field when specific teams in specific sports are dominant. Administrators at area meetings were shown an example from the Indiana High School Athletic Association, which uses a point system to decide if teams are dominant enough over a period of two years to be moved to a higher classification (no matter what the enrollment numbers are). If a dominant team is already in the largest class, the formula is not used.
“Some states say it’s not really about the enrollment you have, it’s about the success you achieve,” MSHSL executive director Dave Stead said at Thursday’s meeting. “It has nothing to do with the type of school you are, it has to do with the success you have over a period of time.”
Using a point system, teams in specific sports move up to the next enrollment class for the next reclassification period. In Minnesota, reclassification takes place every two years. Administrators at area meetings filled out a questionnaire about Success Factor and were invited to offer their input to the MSHSL staff members.
“It’s our job as a staff to bring issues to you, get input from you and take that input to our board, which is what we’re trying to do,” Stead said.
Associate director Kevin Merkle updated the meeting attendees on district football, a new format for regular-season football scheduling that will begin in 2015. Under the plan, schools will be placed into districts, and each district will put together football schedules for all teams in that district.
“In a large majority of cases, schools will be grouped with schools they’re already playing,” Merkle said. “A few districts are as small as 12 (schools), but some are as big as 20 and even 28 schools.”
A committee is working on placing schools into districts, holding several meetings with the goal of having district assignments finalized later this month. Members of the committee are Brad Johnson, Rochester; Todd Oye, Luverne; Chuck Evert, Battle Lake; Mike Biermaier, Thief River Falls; Brent Schimek, Deer River; Derek Parendo, Proctor; John Ross, Sartell; Brian Brown, Concordia Academy; Dan Roff, Fridley; and Rick Sutton, Eagan.
And finally, here are the proposed bylaw changes that will be considered by the representative assembly on Monday ...
o Bylaw 111—Transfer and Residence: It will allow a student a 15-day “trial period” to return to the student’s original school after a transfer provided the student has not competed at the varsity level in any sport during that time period.
o Bylaw 201—Amateur Status: It will allow for actual and reasonable reimbursement for participation in a camp or clinic; it prohibits participation on professional teams or signing with a professional team; it will allow a tryout with a professional team if the student can document that (s)he paid all the fees and expenses.
o Bylaw 205—Chemical Eligibility: Expands the prohibited use, consumption, possession, purchase, sale or distribution of products containing or delivering nicotine, tobacco and other chemicals (eg e-cigarettes); expands the definition of substances or products that alter the central nervous system (eg synthetic drugs, glue, bath salts etc).
o Bylaw 208—Non-School Competition and Training: It more clearly defines for coaches what exactly is prohibited during the annual no-contact period incorporating the July Fourth holiday. A second amendment provides specific definitions and policies pertaining to football contact and practice during the summer months.
o Bylaw 304—Ineligible Student: It removes the team penalty exception for administrative errors in using an ineligible player serving a chemical or non-school competition penalty.
o Bylaw 403—Cooperative Sponsorship: It changes the co-op application deadline from the first day of practice for a sport to no later than 30 calendar days prior to the first day of practice for a sport.
o Bylaw 411—Scheduling of Contests: It will allow scheduling contests with out-of-state schools only if the opponent’s state association actually sponsors that activity and that opponent abides by its state association’s eligibility rules.
o Bylaw 502—Daily/Season Player Participation Limits: It imposes a daily limit of not more than 6.5 quarters during any consecutive three-day period for football players.
o Bylaw 508—Football: It is a complete revision of what must be done before the first game is played, spelling out specific protocols for heat acclimitization and practices. It reduces the preseason period from three weeks to 14 calendar days.
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 454
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 10,848
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn