Playoffs Will Look Different (If They Happen at All)
The high school sports season started on time for many of the fall sports. What's now known is when or how it will end. The Minnesota State High School League posted an end date for the regular season for soccer, cross country, girls tennis, and girls swim and dive. An announcement should come soon on whether there will be section and state competition.
If there is, it will look much different than a normal playoff season. The most obvious change is no football and volleyball action. Those sports were moved to a new spring season in 2021. Those sports, plus spring sports, will get a dozen practices this fall.
Typically, cross country teams hold a big meet to determine section titles. Current high school league rules allow for no more than three teams together at a meet. Could section meets be broken down to a series of three-team runoffs with times compared after everyone has run?
Swimming has already gone to a virtual format. Is it possible to hold sections, and even state competition, the same way? Girls tennis seems like a socially distanced sport already. But section and state competition would bring together teams from different areas which is discouraged by the high school league.
Soccer matches are going on with all the built-in contact between opposing players. Sections and state would again involve teams from different areas interacting.
There also comes the question of facilities. Various sports use University of Minnesota sites and even US Bank Stadium. Reports during the pandemic have indicated that those locations will not likely be available.
On Saturday's AM 1390 KRFO Coaches Show, Owatonna activities director Marc Achterkirch said the high school league would let schools know the plan after Labor Day, "I believe the task force (is) meeting...I hope (this) week we have an idea what the post season is going to look like and we can start planning that. And I hope we have a good post season. What they've told us is it probably won't look like what we've seen in the past."
The next elephant-in-the-room is winter sports. Medford activities director Kevin Werk said an answer could come at a high school league meeting in early October, "That's where they'll make a decision on winter sports. That's kind of earlier than I expected. But it will be nice to have an idea what they're thinking for winter sports."