In a four-hour special meeting by the Minnesota State High School League, the league reinstated volleyball and football for play this fall.
The motion passed for volleyball to move back to the fall, beginning Sept. 28 with an 11-week season and a total of 14 games.
For football, practice starts Sept. 28 with the first games being held Oct. 9-10. It will be a six-game regular season and two-week postseason, format to be determined. The motion passed 15-3.
As of Sunday, Sept. 27, Morris Area / Chokio-Alberta football is scheduled to open the season against Minnewaska at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, at Big Cat Stadium in Morris while Hancock football is scheduled to open the season against Ortonville in week one.
At this point in time, there are no specific plans for MSHSL state tournaments and COVID-19 restrictions are playing the biggest role in that, MSHSL Media Specialist John Millea said.
Also noteworthy, current COVID-19 guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health say that no spectators are allowed to attend indoor events in school facilities and outdoor events are limited to 250 total spectators.
Hancock athletic director Chad Christianson mimicked those spectator guidelines in a phone interview with the Stevens County Times last week.
“No spectators are allowed in the gym for volleyball. I believe it’s 250 people not counting essential workers and players that are allowed inside the football complex… Those people that stand outside the fence or in their vehicles to watch, I would assume, don’t count,” Christianson said.
Because of the spectator limitation, being able to have parents watch their athletes is probably one of the biggest hurdles for Hancock after the decision to move volleyball and football back to fall.
“We have never live streamed our games in the past and now we are trying to find a way to do that, especially for volleyball,” Christianson said.
Morris Area has been live streaming events for about five years now and expanded its coverage to girls swimming and diving this fall. Morris Area athletic director Mark Ekren said he is planning to live stream volleyball and football this fall as well. All home streams will be on the Morris Area Tiger Live YouTube page, which can be found at https://www.youtube.com/c/MorrisAreaTigersLive.
The Board of Directors will likely discuss the impact and timeline of winter sports at its next