Football has been a major topic at meetings of the MSHSL board of directors for a long time, specifically a problem that many football teams deal with on a regular basis: finding enough games to fill the eight-game regular-season schedule.
At Monday’s board meeting, a completely new format for regular-season football was approved. The plan, called District Football, will reorganize teams into 18 districts across the state with the goal of eliminating the issue of filling schedules.
To see lists of districts and schools, click on “District Football 2015-16, 2016-17” on the MSHSL home page. Scroll to the bottom of that story and click on the link titled “District Lists and Maps.”
Here are some important points about District Football …
--It will begin in 2015. That means nothing will change this fall (2014).
--District football will have no impact on the postseason. Current section alignments will continue for section playoffs and the state tournament.
--This affects football only and no other sports.
--Districts will have between 12 and 28 teams, many with teams from different classes.
--Districts are labeled by names instead of numbers: West, South, Big Southeast, East Central, Mid State, etc.
--In most cases, districts will have the option of setting up sub-districts within the district. This means there will be plenty of scheduling flexibility.
--Schools in each district will meet to produce schedules for each team in the district. The MSHSL will not be involved in scheduling.
--In most cases, traditional rivalries will continue if the schools choose to do so. Each school with a football team filled out a form prior to the districts being created, and they were encouraged to list the rivalries they would like to continue.
MSHSL associate director Kevin Merkle worked on the plan, along with a 10-member committee that placed schools into districts. It was unanimously approved by the MSHSL activity directors advisory committee before the board of directors gave its unanimous approval Monday.
“Everyone needs to keep in mind that this is just a step in the process of developing actual schedules for our member schools,” Merkle said. “Some districts have a wide range in size and geography, but once the districts determine their sub-district alignments, most of the enrollment and geographical issues will be solved.”
In other news from Monday’s meeting …
--The board approved adding Academic Decathlon to the umbrella of MSHSL activities. The MSHSL will be a presenting partner of Academic Decathlon, as it is with robotics and clay target shooting.
--The board approved a proposal to have home schools pay the same membership/activity fees that all other members schools do.
--In discussing implementing a transgender policy, no decisions were made. Members asked that more information be provided before the next board meeting in August.
--The board did not approve a recommendation from dance team, which wanted to add an additional level of competition in which sections cross over to advance the “best” teams to state, not necessarily by geography. After discussing the request, no board member made a motion for a vote.
--The board approved a request from Nordic skiing to have two teams per section advance to state instead of the current one team.
--The board approved a slight change in Class 1A boys diving, allowing one more diver per section to advance to state.
The board also …
--Approved the hiring of an additional IT staff member at the MSHSL office.
--Honored Elaine Taggatz, who is retiring as state coordinator of gymnastics officials.
--Recognized board members whose terms ended Monday: Laurie Esau, Mike Kolness, Mike Manning and John Hamann.
Sauk Rapids-Rice principal Erich Martens was elected board vice president for 2014-15. He will become president in 2015-16.
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 527
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 12,110
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