Being an athletic and activities director may not be on the “world’s toughest jobs list.”
This year, though, as the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc, Aitkin AD Alex White has gone from one virtual meeting to another almost every week.
This past week was no exception, as he tuned in to a Minnesota State High School League meeting on winter sports, then was in on an athletic directors get-together Friday.
The topic of both meetings was the same – what is going to happen with winter sports?
The MSHSL proposed three options last week. Currently, the league has voted to start practices Dec. 21, with games getting underway Jan. 4.
That also amounts to a reduction of one to two weeks of the season and the same amount of games. White liked this one but is not confident that it will happen.
“Right now, most of the ADs that I have spoken to don’t think that Dec. 21 will work for any number of reasons,” White said. “I have taken my December game dates and moved them to March.
“I am also thinking that if Dec. 21 is the date, we will run only grades 9-12 to start with,” he added.
McGregor AD Bob Staska wasn’t optimistic about the plans, either. Both Aitkin and McGregor have grades 4-12 on distance learning now through Jan. 15.
“None of the plans really mean anything until the governor either extends or lets the current order expire,” Staska said. “The proposals are dependent on his decision.”
The second proposal has practices starting Jan. 4 and games and contests beginning Jan. 18.
That idea would reduce the season by two to three weeks and the same number of games. Proposal No. 3 would have the practices starting Jan. 18 with games on tap for Feb. 1.
That would reduce the season by five to six weeks and the same number of contests. Nobody wants to see this proposal take place.
“The high school league wants us to have flex time in March so potential state tournament dates don’t have to be changed,” he said. “Right now, winter sports would conclude the week of March 29 with spring sports to start the same week and finish up the week of June 14.
“The weeks will be reduced but we want to stay with the same amount of games and contests that are scheduled,” he added.
The MSHSL proposals will be dependent on whether or not Gov. Tim Walz allows the current “pause” to end Dec. 17.
Winter sports in Minnesota will depend solely on what he announces on that day and COVID-19 case numbers at the time.
“It’s all feasible,” Staska said. “Starting practice the week of Christmas would seem a little awkward, though.”