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Are you ready for some football? And volleyball, too

By Staff | Sep 27, 2020

Both football and volleyball got the go-ahead to proceed this fall from the Minnesota State High School League last week. They will join girls tennis and cross country as the fall sports for both USC and BEA schools this week.

Are you ready for some football and volleyball?

Following a decision by the Minnesota State High School League’s (MSHSL)?Board of Directors, those two sports will get underway with official practices beginning on Sept. 28.

Volleyball and football had originally been moved to spring because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, on Monday, Sept. 21, the Board of Directors approved a plan, which fits within COVID-19 guidance of the Minnesota Department of Health, to return the sports to the fall season.

Since Sept. 14, member schools have had the option of participating in fall training sessions.

In the framework which was adopted by the Board of Directors, a planned two-week football postseason will begin the week of Nov. 16 with the first games of the season being played Oct. 9.

Volleyball will begin an 11-week season with the first games being played as soon as Oct. 8. Like football, there would be two weeks of postseason play. Playoffs would begin Nov. 30 for volleyball.

In a vote on Aug. 4, the board had approved postponing football and volleyball until a spring season. But on Wednesday, Sept. 16, a day after a lengthy board workshop, Board of Directors president Blaine Novak called for a special meeting for the board to give reconsideration of returning the two activities to their traditional fall seasons.

During the workshop, the Minnesota Department of Health shared updated information on COVID-19 analytics, spread and prevention. Board members also engaged in discussion with the Return to Participation Task Force, a group formed in late July to explore participation models and options for member schools and participants during the COVID era.

“The decisions by our Board of Directors both provide opportunities for many student athletes and also require everyone’s responsible actions in keeping students and communities safe,” League executive director Erich Martens said. “It will be critical that our schools do their very best to enact protocols that maximize the safety of our students, coaches and officials.

Locally, Blue Earth Area is scheduled to have their first volleyball game on Oct. 8, at home against Fairmont. The football team’s first game is scheduled for Friday night, Oct. 9, at Jackson County Central.

United South Central is set to play their first football game against Cleveland at Wells Concrete Stadium in Wells on Oct. 9. The USC volleyball schedule had not been posted at the time of this writing.

“I am just happy for the female and male athletes to compete and to get a chance to play the sports they love,” BEA activities director Rob Norman said.

Currently there are six MSHSL activities taking place in the state. Girls tennis, boys and girls cross country, boys and girl soccer and girls swimming and diving began on Aug. 17 with additional safety protocols and practices as well as modified seasons.

Those modified seasons decreased the length of the seasons by 20 percent and the number of contests by 30 percent.

Throughout the process the primary guiding principle was to provide opportunities in the safest way possible in all League activities and athletics for the 2020-2021 school year, according to the MSHSL.