The April meeting of the MSHSL board of directors was an action-packed affair Thursday morning, with some proposed changes approved and others rejected. The topics ranged from the basketball postseason to seeding at state tournaments to hockey scrimmages to swimming to cross-country to golf and more. Here’s a summary of what happened…
--State Basketball Seeding/ The boys and girls basketball advisory committees recommended that teams be seeded No. 1 through No. 8 at state tournaments for all classes of boys and 3A and 4A in girls; the current format for those classes has teams seeded 1 through 4 and their opponents determined by a blind draw. The 20-member board tabled the proposal, wanting more information before making any decisions. The board was told that at least half of the state’s region committees opposed the change, and the board also was informed that making the change for basketball would mean doing the same for other state tournaments that are seeded. The possibility of seeding 1 through 5 was mentioned, and the board will discuss this issue in the future.
--New Format For 4A State Basketball/ The basketball advisory committees also proposed that boys and girls 4A basketball use a new system for the postseason, with 64 teams forming an NCAA-style tournament. The board rejected the proposal on a near-unanimous voice vote.
Board members’ concerns included travel and who would be on committees that would seed the 64 teams. Board vice president Mark Fredericksen, principal at Waconia High School, said, “I’m really concerned about the philosophical change. I think this changes our whole model. If our goal is to create competitive balance it’s hard to limit it to one class and one sport. I don’t know that the model is necessarily broken in basketball.”
Board member Mike Manning, activities director at Rosemount High School and a former basketball coach, said, “I think every other sport will be at our door and I’m not ready to do this for every sport. As much as I think this is a good idea for basketball, I’m not in favor.”
And board member Chris Laird, activities director and boys soccer coach at Heritage Christian Academy, asked, “If the rationale is to make it as competitive as you can, wouldn’t that apply to 3A, 2A and 1A?”
--Hockey Scrimmages/ Hockey coaches asked for a change in rules regarding scrimmages, but the board voted against the change. Currently, each team is allowed three calendar days to hold three days of scrimmages or two days of scrimmages and one jamboree day. The proposal asked for unlimited scrimmages during the first two weeks after practice begins, and a limit of two scrimmages following the third Monday of the season.
--Baseball/Softball/ The board approved a request from baseball and softball coaches to use a double-elimination format for the final eight teams in section tournaments. Currently, the final four teams use double-elimination. This change will take effect in the 2013 season. The board also approved a policy change for game-ending procedures at the state softball and baseball tournaments, allowing games to be suspended rather than ended due to bad weather or other circumstances.
--Also, the board approved a change from four sections to six in Class A boys swimming and approved a format change in section qualifiers for the state cross-country meet. Currently, the top 10 individuals from each section go to state, regardless of team qualifiers. Under the change, the top eight individuals not on state-qualifying teams will go to state.
IN OTHER NEWS FROM THE BOARD ROOM…
--A survey concerning golf showed little support for adding a fall state tournament (and retaining the spring tournament) for teams that would like to play golf in the fall.
--The board watched a video replay of Perham students Emily Peterson and Joe Alfs singing the national anthem during the boys state basketball tournament. As I wrote after their performance, “We have heard some excellent performances during the tournaments, but Perham students Emily Peterson and Joe Alfs topped them all with a wonderful duet before Friday night’s games. They mixed in a bit of “America the Beautiful” with the anthem, and then got high fives from Perham coach Dave Cresap as they exited the court.”
--The board honored Andover junior cross-country runner Josh Ripley with the Spirit of Sport Award, one of eight such awards given across the country. In an act that received national acclaim last September, Josh stopped running during the Applejack Invitational in Lakeville and helped an injured runner. Lakeville South’s Mark Paulauskas had been spiked and was on the ground, holding his ankle and bleeding profusely. Josh picked him up and carried him a half-mile down the course, where he handed him off to a Lakeville South coach. Once assured that Paulauskas was in good hands and medical help was on its way, Ripley made his way back to the race, finishing 211th out of 261 runners.
Josh, who was nominated by the MSHSL for the national Spirit of Sport award, was named the winner in Section 5, which includes Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 490
*Miles John has driven: 7,043
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